Four breed shows at annual Skipton gimmer lambs highlight The ‘young ladies’ of the sheep world flocked to Skipton Auction Mart for the annual gimmer lamb highlight, with 4,188 head penned for sale and trade much in line with anticipations when producing an overall selling average of £59.39 per head. (Tues, Oct 9) The fixture again featured four breed shows for Swaledale, North of England Mule, Dales Mule and Masham lambs in pens of ten, with all but one of the first prize winners selling for top price in their respective sections



Swaledale gimmer lambs, over 900 in total, were the trade of the day, levelling at £50.41 per head, a fall of only £1.99 on the year, and peaking at £125 each for the first prize pen from father and daughter, John and Rose Tennant, of Low Bucker House Farm, Bordley, who were winning the show class for the third year in succession, retaining the Craven Cattle Marts Trophy.
The majority were by a John Porter ram and, like last year’s victors, they were once more purchased by Threshfield’s Angus Dean. The Tennants also sold further pens at £90 and £72.
Standing runner-up in the same show class was Ian Wilson, of Winterburn, his charges selling at £115 per head to Jack Berry, who trades as JH Throup on Silsden Moor. Bordley’s Kevin Huck finished third in class, his pen claimed for £100 each by North of England Mule Sheep Association Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses.
The third seasonal turnout of NEMSA Mule gimmer lambs attracted another solid entry of 2,235 head from association members and these sold to an overall average of £59.12, down £17.96 on 2017, a reflection of the current market.
The first prize Mules were presented by the Throup family – Joe and Nancy, and their son George – from Berwick Intake Farm, Draughton, who have been breeding Mules since they first started farming in their own right in 1990. They have had around 750 lambs on the ground this year across all their flocks, including 320 Mule gimmer lambs.
The red rosette winners, some by a home-bred ram lamb, others by a Gordon Rawsthorne Lunesdale tup, went on to top the day’s selling prices at £128 per head when joining Neil and Jackie Dalby, of Darley.
The runners-up from Barden’s John Fawcett made £105, the third prize pen from Jeff and Judith Throup, of Silsden Moor, £90. Robert Crisp, of, Calton, also caught the eye with a £96 pen.
A total of 631 Mule lambs from non-NEMSA members sold to an overall average of £58.16, a fall of £16.28 on the year. As in 2017, the top price £71 per head pen again came from RG&H Preece, of Roeburndale.
The Dales Mules show class was won by father and son, Joe and Trevor Stoney, from Bewerley, Pateley Bridge, with home-bred lambs by a tup from fellow Nidderdale breeder, Bernard Simpson.
The Stoneys, who received the Josephine Bartlett Memorial Trophy, donated by her family in memory of the late local magistrate from Kettlewell, currently run over 600 Dalesbred sheep, including their Dales Mules. Their first prize pen sold for £100 to Anthony and Heather Hewetson, of Bank Newton, with three further pens making £70 per head each.
The Close family, from Starbotton, who had won the Dales Mules show class for the previous three years, finished runners-up this year, their pen selling for £76, with the third prize pen from David Verity, of Middlesmoor, making £80. The 251 Dales Mules on parade averaged £64.94, a fall of £8.20 on 2017.
The Masham gimmers show class, again sponsored by Masham Sheep Breeders’ Association, fell to a first-time exhibitor at Skipton, Wharfedale’s Brian Ashby, from Norwood, near Otley, with a pen of home-bred lambs by his well utilised Teeswater stock tup.
Mr Ashby, who has been breeding Mashams for nigh on half a century – he currently has 120 breeding ewes – saw his first prize pen, recipients of the Kemp Spokes Trophy, sell for £95 to TGT & PJ Strickland, of Kendal, who bought all the class prize-winners.
Allan and Susan Throup and family, of Higher House Farm, Silsden, who had the first prize Masham pens the previous two years, finished second and third this time around, their runners-up selling for £80, the third prize pen doing better at £88. They also sold two further pens at £80. The 169 Masham lambs averaged £62.92 (-£7.71 on 2017).
Mules and Dales Mules were judged by Abi Brown, from Broadway on the Worcestershire/Gloucestershire border, Mashams by Mark Elliott, of Ferrensby, and Swaledales by Pateley Bridge’s Bernard Simpson. The show was again sponsored by McClarrons and Massey Feeds.