Heseltine coup at Skipton Christmas lamb carcase showcase Butcher George Cropper buys supreme champion for third year Bolton Abbey father and son, Chris and Tom Heseltine, of Hesketh Farm, secured supreme championship honours for the first time in the annual lamb carcase competition staged as part of Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Christmas primestock shows and sales. (Sun, Nov 27) The Heseltines took the title with a home-bred Beltex-cross gimmer lamb, first prize winner in the 41-44kg Continental class and by their main stock tup.

With a live weight of 42kg, 22.5kg deadweight, a killing out percentage of 53.5% and AHDB grading of E3L, the victor, which was also awarded a special prize from the Northern Beltex Club, sold for the third year in succession and the day’s leading price of £245 to retail butcher George Cropper, who for many years has had a shop in Accrington Market.

He runs it with his daughter Clare, from Long Preston, and in June this year the business took over a much larger unit in the market to cater for increasing customer demand for its products.

Mr Cropper purchased three prize-winning lamb carcases in total, paying £200 for a third prize Continental from Anthony Thompson, of Salterforth, and £120 for another second prize winner from Carleton’s Ian Bell.

The Heseltines, who also run the popular visitor attraction, Hesketh Farm Park, added a runners-up prize in the 35-40kg class with a same way bred Beltex sold for £120 to another retail butcher, Anthony Swales, of Knavesmire Butchers in Albermarle Road, York.

The same buyer also paid second top price of £200 for the first prize 35-40kg Continental class winner and reserve champion from Hannah Brown, of Dovecote Barn, Leyburn. The Brown family had been lamb carcase champions for the previous two years and this year’s near pure Beltex-cross wether was by the same Green Tag ram responsible for their 2014 and 2015 victors.  It had a liveweight of 38kg, 22.3kg deadweight, with a killing out percentage of 58.6% and a grade of E3L

Hannah Brown also finished second in the under 35kg Continental class, this too selling to Mr Swales, who bought nine carcases in all. A further prize-winning acquisition at £120 was the red rosette winner in the under 35kg Continental class, another Beltex-cross from John Midgley, of Luddendenfoot. It had a liveweight of 33kg, 18.5kg deadweight, 56.1% killing out percentage and E3L grading.

Mr Swales also paid £105 for another third prize Continental carcase from brothers Trevor and Clive Robinson, of Tosside.

In the hill sheep section, the 41-44kg Dalesbred show class fell to Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses, with a carcase that tipped the scales at 43kg liveweight, 20.3kg deadweight, with a 47.2% killing out percentage and O3H grading. Also winning a special award from the Dalesbred Association, this sold at £95 to local farmers Joe and Nancy Throup, of Draughton, for their own use.

The 41-44kg Masham class was won for the second year running by Nidderdale’s Derek Harker, of Middlesmoor, with a carcase of 42kg liveweight, 20.9kg deadweight, 49.7% killing out percentage and R4L grading. Also winning a special award from Masham Sheepbreeders, it fell for £100 to Millstones Restaurant and Mill 67 in Kettlesing, Harrogate, which also paid £92 for the second prize Dalesbred carcase from Beckwithshaw’s Michael and David Wilson. The restaurant is a regular buyer at the fixture for its customers’ festive tables.

Kevin Wilson returned with the second prize Mule carcase, which also made £92 when joining Skipton-based wholesaler Swaledale Foods, who also claimed the first prize winner in 41-44kg Swaledale class, again from Ian Bell, for £95. It had a liveweight of 44kg, 21.1kg deadweight, 47.9% killing out percentage and O3H grade.

The Stockdale family, from Burnsall, picked up the red rosette in the 41-44kg hill lamb class with a Mule at 44kg deadweight, 20.3kg deadweight, killing out percentage of 46.1% and O3H grade. This one sold at £95 to Parkin Family Butchers, of Howden, Goole.  The same vendor also had the second prize Swaledale carcase, which made £90 when bought by Addingham’s Mick Greenwood for his own use.

Back with the Continentals, a further third prize winner from J&ME Grange, of Follifoot, made £98 when joining Keelham Farm Shop, with all 32 carcases entered this year from both breeders and feeders selling at an overall average of £119.25.

All carcases had first been delivered to the mart and weighed live, before slaughter at John Penny and Sons in Rawdon, returning to the Stanforths Butchers meat processing plant on the CCM site. Stanforths also sponsored the five show classes, which were judged by Michael Winchester, livestock buyer at Woodhead Bros Butchers in Colne.

The popular fixture again presented an ideal opportunity for butchers, hotels, restaurants and pubs to purchase award-winning carcases for display and sale in the run up to Christmas.