Solid start for CCM Skipton’s 2020 breeding sheep season Skipton Auction Mart’s opening prize show and sale of gimmer shearlings, the traditional launch fixture for its annual breeding sheep season, attracted an increased turnout of 4,893 head, over 1,850 more than 2019, with all classes getting away to a fast selling trade when averaging £152.05 per head across all breeds, again a significant increase on the previous year’s £139.84. (Tuesday, August 25)


First into the sale ring were Continental and Suffolk crosses, and the quality types and strong Texel-cross-Mules were easily sold. With buyers keen for this class of sheep, prices were around £10 per head up on the year, though commercial types were forward in greater numbers and not as readily sought. Suffolk-cross Mules were short of requirements and sold to a nice trade, though with more required several customers left empty handed.

Socially distanced judging of sheep in packets of tens took place in vendors’ pens and the champion pen of Continentals were Beltex shearlings from local breeders Scott and Laura Robinson, of Barnoldswick, which went on to sell for the day’s top price, a standout £300 per head to B&C Robinson, of York. Beltex sold to an overall average of £194.62, up £37.95 on the year.

Just missing out on a fifth consecutive Continental show class victory when standing runners-up this year, again with Texels, were Lambert and Joy Coverdale and their son, also Lambert, from Beckwithshaw. Harrogate Their pen sold at £220, as did the third prize winners from Colwing’s Sandy Harrison.

A new sale format for North of England Mule shearlings was well received, resulting in a very solid breed average of £149, up £11.70 on the year. The show produced yet another championship success – their fourth in recent years – for the Ribble Valley’s John and Beth Greenhalgh, and daughter Anne Calvert, from Rugglesmere Farm, Bashall Eaves, Clitheroe.

The victors retained the Edgar Boothman Trophy, before progressing to top the section prices at £220 per head when falling locally to T&J Moran in Hellifield. The third prize pen from the same home sold for £200, as did the runners-up from the Grindleton-based Towler family.

The annual Masham Sheep Breeders Association show attracted a good entry and tremendous interest ringside, with the sale average of £156 representing a hefty rise on the year. Championship honours fell for the second year in succession to WD Douthwaite & Partners, of Kirkby Overblow, though they continue to run their Mashams on another farm at Menwith Hill.

While the victors were bought for £165 each on behalf of a lifelong breed aficionado based in Shropshire, it was the second prize pen from the same home – the family partnership comprises Chris Douthwaite, his daughter Amanda, son James and brother Alan - that headed the section prices at £178 when joining the Wallbank family in Clapham.

A standalone show class for non-association Masham gimmer shearlings was won by V Verity & Son, of West End, the red rosette winners selling for £150, though it was the second prize pen from 2019 victors, the Hall family, of Darnbrook – father James and his sons Will, James and Tommy – that headed the section selling prices at £175.

Individual breed averages were: Beltex £194.62 (+ £37.95), Mule £149.03 (+£11.70), Masham £156.82 (+£31.84).Texel £154.07 (-£3.75), Suffolk £151.19 (+£9.12), Cheviot Mule £179.02 (+£29.45). Full results and chief prices for the British Wool Marketing Board-sponsored fixture are at