Boothman repeat bonanza at Skipton ewes with lambs opener Linton’s Thomas Boothman was once again the leading performer by far at Skipton Auction Mart’s opening show and sale of ewes with lambs at foot when retaining both the championship and reserve championship. He was also lifting the title for the third year in succession at the bank holiday highlight. (Mon, March 28)

Mr Boothman, of Linton Hall Farm, took premier honours with his first and second prize pens of five Texel-cross ewes, all with twin Beltex lambs. The champions sold for £255 per outfit, top price in show, to Neil Tattersall, of Ellerton, York, the reserve champions for £245 per outfit to the same buyer.

Mr Boothman’s annual run of 81 Texel and Continental-cross shearlings and two-shear ewes, all home-bred and all with lambs born from February into March, once more shone at the early season Spring opener when sweeping the board in three of the four show classes.

Like the leading performers for the past two years, the majority were again by Beltex tups acquired from Skipton’s Chris Windle.

Mr Boothman’s two-shear ewes with twin lambs sold to a top of £235 per outfit, these falling to Jan Feather, of Oxenhope, while the pick of his prize-winning Mule shearling ewes and twin lambs hit a high of £175 per outfit on joining Gargrave’s Simon Spensley. A further consignment of correct Oxford ewes with twin lambs sold to a high of £195 per outfit.

Mr Boothman was accompanied by 14-year-old Upper Wharfedale School pupil William Wade from neighbouring Catchall Farm, who with his parents Jack and Angela Wade, has helped the vendor gather up his consignment from Linton’s wildflower meadows on the morning of the sale.

Richard Frankland, of Frankland Farms in Rathmell, was also among the prizes, selling correct Mule ewes and twin lambs to £180.

Another eye-catcher was Johnny Metcalfe, of Linton, who sold Texel-cross three-crop ewes with twin lambs to £200 per iutfit, along with correct ewes with single lambs to £170, a price equalled by D Cunningham, of Greetland, Halifax. R Brewer, of Cautley, Sedbergh, also achieved £175 with three-crop ewes with single lambs.

Show classes were judged by John Turner, of Draughton, and sponsored by the British Wool Marketing Board.

The total entry of 1,053, the largest of the season to date, comprised 382 ewes with 671 lambs at foot, which sold to a packed ringside of customers, though with grass still in short supply they were more cautious than of late.

Anything with strong lambs proved best to sell, but more commercial types were cheaper on the week by around £5-£8 per life. Weekly Monday sales of sheep with lambs at foot are set to continue, with 250 outfits anticipated at the coming week’s fixture.