Kevin Huck strikes again at annual Skipton gimmer lambs highlight Skipton Auction Mart’s October gimmer lamb highlight produced an overall selling average for the 4,009-strong entry of £65.90 per head, a tidy increase on the previous year’s £59.39. (Tues, Oct 8) The popular annual fixture again featured four standalone breed shows for pens of ten Swaledale, North of England Mule, Dales Mule and Masham lambs. The Swaledale show class fell to Kevin Huck, of Knowle Bank Farm, Bordley, fresh from standing champion and claiming £2,200 top price at the previous evening’s annual Swaledales rams showcase.

In fact, two in the pen were by his 2019 aged ram victor. Recipients of the Craven Cattle Marts Trophy, they went on to sell for top call in both class and sale by some considerable margin when knocked down for £145 per head to Mycock & Bright in Buxton.
The second prize Swaledale pen also came from Bordley, this time from father and daughter, John and Rose Tennant, of Low Bucker House Farm, section winners the previous three years. Their lambs sold for £120 each, the third prize pen from Embsay’s John and Claire Mason making £95, with all the prize winners selling at higher prices than the previous year.
Although lambs were not quite as strong on the year, they got away well, with plenty of buyers keen to further improve their purchases. The 860 head on offer sold to an overall average of £50.73, a slight rise of 32p per head on 2018.
The Throup family – Joe and Nancy, and their son George – from Berwick Intake Farm, Draughton, who won the Mules show class last year, were again to the fore with the second prize pen, sold for £98, £2 per head more than the third prize pen for Robert and Ellie Crisp in Calton. The section winners from the Airey family in Elslack returned home.
North of England Mule gimmers were shown in good fettle and of a better quality this year for what was NEMSA’s third annual turnout of 2019 at the North Yorkshire venue, this being reflected by an overall breed average for the 2,130 lambs on parade of £71.14 per head, a solid increase of just over £12 on last year.
Smarter lambs were £75 to £80-plus, trading to a section high of £118 from long-standing NEMSA members, the Kitching family at Grisedale Farm, Threshfield, their pen claimed by Fox Farms in Withgill, Clitheroe. EW&JR Parkinson, of Dunsop Bridge, also hit three figures with a £105 pen, as did Jeff Throup, of Silsden Moor, at £100.
The best end of the runners sold in the late £60s/early £70s, straight runners in the £60s and just a few of the smaller end in the late £50s. Non-NEMSA members’ lambs, 530 in total, sold to a top of £77 for a pen from W Harrison & Son, of Weston, Otley, averaging £68.78, a rise of £10.62 on 2018
There were back-to-back wins in both the Dales Mule and Masham show classes, the former by father and son, Joe and Trevor Stoney, from Bewerley, Pateley Bridge, with home-bred lambs again by a tup from fellow Nidderdale breeder, Bernard Simpson.
The Stoneys, who retained the Josephine Bartlett Memorial Trophy, donated by her family in memory of the late local magistrate from Kettlewell, currently run some 500 Dalesbred ewes, which go to the Bluefaced Leicester to produce Dales Mules, which they have been breeding for two decades.
Their latest red rosette winners sold for a section-topping £80 to Worcestershire buyers L&M Brown, the second and third prize pens from the Close family in Starbotton, at £76 and £75 respectively.
Dales Mules, 297 in total, reflected the improved trade for breeding sheep this year, with smart lambs selling at £75-£80, though more small lambs forward held back the average at £65.07, a small increase of 13p per head on the year.
The Masham gimmers show class, again sponsored by Masham Sheep Breeders’ Association, was won for the second consecutive year by Wharfedale’s Brian ‘Albert’ Ashby, from Bratt Farm Norwood, Otley, with home-bred lambs, some in the pen by a Teeswater ram from Dallowgill’s Bradley Chandley, the others by home-bred tups. He retained the Kemp Spokes Trophy, selling his class victors for £95 top price to JA&F Elliott, of Ferrensby, Knaresborough.
The second prize pen from Silsden Moor’s Allan and Susan Throup sold for £80, the third prize winners from DNewbould, of Dallowgill, at £74. The 167 Mashams penned for sale met a sharp trade, with lambs fit for tupping selling around £80 and smart running lambs up to £74, producing an overall section average of £70.07, up £7.15 on 2018.
Of the remainder, Blue Texel sold to £102 and Suffolks to £79.
Masham show pens were judged by Sheffield’s Amanda Douthwaite, the Dales Mules by her father Chris, from Harrogate, the North of England Mules by Alec Lambert, of Hawes, the Swaledales by Bradley’s Richard Greenwood. Keynote sponsor was Laurence Pierce Wool Merchants, represented by Clitheroe’s Grace Dobson