Booths wrap up Skipton BFL females four-timer Skipton Auction Mart’s first registered sheep breed show and sale of 2015, the annual fixture for Blue Faced Leicester females, saw championship honours fall for an unprecedented fourth year in succession to the prolific Smearsett flock of WA&A Booth in North Craven. (Wed, Jan 28)

Father and son David and Robin Booth, of Old Hall Cottage, Feizor, again saw their first prize gimmer hogg progress to land the overall title, courtesy of local show judge Thomas Walker, of Appletreewick.


The home-bred Smearsett G54 is by one of their stock tups, Gragareth, acquired from fellow North Craven breeder David Lawson, of Westhouse, Ingleton, and also responsible for a number of the Booths’ champion pen of 20 gimmer lambs at last September’s big opening North of England Mule highlight at Skipton.


Their latest show victor sold for £500 to a Scottish buyer, Hugh Montgomery, who braved the weather when travelling down from his Assloss Farm in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, to bid in person at the ringside for top-notch breeding females from reputable local breeders.


He also paid the day’s top price of £580 for the second prize hogg from the Oddacres flock of John and Claire Mason in Embsay. By F6 Forebrae, bred in Dumfriesshire by John Parkin, Oddacres G29 has solid breeding lines on the dam’s side that go back to the Booth family’s highly regarded Z7 Smearsett tup.


Mr Montgomery farms suckler cows and sheep, the majority Scottish Blackface ewes. However, he has big plans for his two Skipton acquisitions, including tilts at local shows this summer in the hands of a friend, as well as being put to his own Midlock-bred BFL ram, in the hope of producing further top-notch progeny that might also go on to shine in the show arena. “It was well worth the long trip,” he said.


The Booths also presented the third prize winner in the in-lamb show class, a Smearsett shearling ewe by their own C1 Shafthill tup, who was also responsible for their 2014 Skipton champion. Scanned in-lamb to G2 Mereoak, she sold for £550 to NEMSA’s Skipton branch chairman Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses.


Joe and Nancy Throup, and their son George, who run the Chelker Blue Faced Leicester flock in Draughton, pitched in with the first and second prize in-lamb ewes, with their four-shear red rosette winner, by a Y5 Hewgill ram from the Lord family in Kirkby Stephen, also adjudged reserve champion.


Scanned carrying a single lamb to Ilkley Moor F1, bred by Ellis Bros on Addingham Moorside, she sold for £300 to Derbyshire breeder Matt Tomlinson, of Muggington, who also paid the same price for the Throups’ second prize ewe, a three-shear by their own Z1 Chelker ram, scanned with a single lamb to Swathburn E12, from another Kirkby Stephen breeder Geoff Taylor.


Dick, Anne and Alan Burley, of Wath, stepped up with the remaining prizewinner, the third prize gimmer hogg, which fell for £230 to Frank and Jack Kitching in Threshfield.


Twelve of the 15-strong BFL entry found new homes, with in-lamb ewes averaging £337.50 and gimmer hogs £332.50.


The show formed part of Skipton’s fortnightly sale of 1,411 head of store lambs and breeding sheep, with 1,367 of the former a large entry for the time of year. They sold away at an overall average of £55.61 per head, though not many strong lambs were on offer.


The best of the lowland entries made to the mid-£70s, with the best Mules also above £70. Medium lambs were in the £60s, while smaller lambs sold at £50 to £55. Among the entry were 450 Swaledale and Dalesbred lambs and these sold nicely away given the quality on offer.

Individual per head breed averages were: Beltex £64, Texel £61.92, Suffolk £57.91, Mule £64.90, Swaledale £38.95 and Dalesbred £37.95. In the breeding sheep section, in-lamb Texel ewes sold to £149, with an average of £147.50, and in-lamb Swaledale ewes to £102.