Robert Towers triumphs again at CCM Easter Spring lambs showcase North Craven’s Robert Towers won the high profile Easter prime lambs show at Skipton Auction Mart for the second year in succession. (Mon, Apr 15) Mr Towers, who farms with his wife, Jackie at Greenlands Farm, Ingleton, saw his first prize home-bred single 53kg Suffolk-cross Continental ram lamb, by a tup bought out of Skipton two years earlier, progress to become champion at the seasonal showcase. It again attracted leading retail butchers from a wide area seeking the pick of the region’s Spring lambs for their customers’ Easter tables from this coming weekend, with lamb roasts in particular remaining highly popular.

The show champion went on to sell for a price-topping £195, or 367.9p per kilo, and again for the second consecutive year, to Alan Beecroft, of Countrystyle Meats Farm Shop & Restaurant in Lancaster Leisure Park, which was once more the principal buyer of Easter lambs, snapping up eight of the 10 show class prize winners, or 19 lambs in total.
Mr Towers, who runs a small flock of some 20 sheep, was also on the mark with the first prize Continental pairs, a brace of pure Charollais gimmer lambs, by an Ingrams tup bought out of Worcester last year. The 46kg duo sold for £140 per head, or 304.3p per kilo, again to Countrystyle Meats.
Show judge, Baxenden butcher George Cropper Jnr, awarded the reserve championship to the first prize single Continental lamb, another pure-bred Charollais from Skipton regular Charles Marwood, who since 1982 has run the Foulrice pedigree flock in Whenby, York, with his wife Valerie and now son Stephen. They currently have some 550 ewes on the ground.
By the stock ram, Sheldon Supreme, and weighing 48kg, the overall runner-up was later snapped up in the sale ring for £154, or 320.8p/kg, by Mr Cropper Jnr, who also went to £134, or 311.6p/kg, to claim the same vendor’s third prize pair of same way bred 43kg Charollais lambs. All will go on sale at his Manchester Road shop.
The remaining show class for Suffolk-cross pairs was won by Giggleswick husband and wife, Jack and Rebecca Wallbank, with 46kg lambs by a Rouge ram, out of pedigree Suffolk ewes, of which their North Craven flock numbers 20. These, too, were among Countrystyle Meats’ acquisitions at £140, or 297.9p/kg.
Completing the Countrystyle Meats buying spree were one of the 48kg runners-up in the pairs show classes from Andrew Bailey, of Eldroth, at £135, or 275.5p/kg, the second prize 43kg single Continental lamb from GA Hewitt & Son, of Giggleswick, at £128, or 297.7p/kg, and both the second and third prize Down-cross singles, 54kg and 51kg lambs from, respectively, Tom Walmsley, of D&A Livestock in Haverah Park, at £123, or 227.8p/kg, and Steeton’s Mark Evans at £129, or 252.9p/kg.            
Another third prize 41kg pair from D&A Livestock sold for 113 or 279p/kg, to Appletons Butchers in Ripon, while Eldwick’s Mick Etherington claimed the two remaining rosette winners, the third prize single Continental-cross and the third prize Down-cross pairs, both consigned by  J&F Nutter, of Hurst Green, Clitheroe They all weighed in at 43kg and were bought on behalf of Kitson & Sons Butchers for its north-east shops at £120, or 279.1p/kg.
The Easter sale attracted a turnout of 101 new season lambs, with nice handyweight butchers lambs trading at 250-300p/kg and to an overall selling average of £115.88 per head, or 246.96p/kg.
Another solid weekly entry of 4,223 sheep also comprised 3,786 prime hoggs, which sold to an overall average of £93.66 per head or 195.08p/kg, peaking at £127 and 300p/kg for Beltex pens from, respectively, Robert Riley, of Flasby, and Felliscliffe’s Henry Atkinson.
Also penned for sale were 293 cull ewes, which averaged £62.24 per head, selling to a top of £118 for Texels from Eric Marshall, of Summerbridge. Cast rams averaged £71.07.