Ribble Valley champions at Skipton gimmer shearling showcase Ribble Valley farming brothers Peter, Edward and Robert Fox, of Withgill, Clitheroe, sent out the champion pen of ten Mules at Skipton Auction Mart’s opening annual gimmer shearling show and sale. (Tuesday, Aug 18) They stepped up on their second place in the same show class last year when securing the title, receiving the Edgar Boothman Memorial Trophy, again presented by his brother James Boothman, of Linton.

The victors, bought in as gimmer lambs, with some sourced at Skipton, sold locally for the day’s leading price of £220 per head to brothers Angus and John Dean in Threshfield. The Fox family consigned 44 Mules in total, also selling a second pen at £180 each.

The annual highlight, one of the largest sales of its type in the North of England, is the traditional pipe opener to Skipton’s 2015 breeding sheep season. There was again keen interest at the ringside in NEMSA-tagged consignments from regular vendors, many of which were bought at last year’s annual Skipton Mule gimmer lamb show and sale, itself one of the UK’s leading fixtures of its kind.

The latest renewal attracted a quality turnout of 5,043 sheep, compared to 4,109 the previous year, though buyers at the ringside were far more cautious, as they sought to secure replacement sheep for prices that reflected this year’s reduced prime sheep trade.

As a result, the overall sale average was £27 down on the year to stand at £122.95 per head. Mules averaged £123.76, Charollais £141, Beltex £138, Masham £124.48, Texel £119.73, Suffolk £114 and Lleyn £106.

Norfolk breeders Henry Harvey & Son, of Waxham Hall, Waxham, have made the Texel show class their own, winning it for the fourth year in succession with their pen of ten twice-crossed home-breds, all by Texel rams sourced at Skipton.

“In fact, everything originates from here,” explained Harvey’s Ben Harvey. “We put Texel tups onto Mules and again on to Texel-x-Mules. We keep all our gimmer lambs and run them as shearlings.”

The Harveys were making their annual consignment trip to Skipton from the family’s 500-acre holding near the Norfolk coast. Their class-winning pen sold for £162 per head to Richard and Thomas Ogg ,of Coleby, Scunthorpe, who regularly sell sheep at the venue.  The Harveys also chipped in with the fourth prize pen, which made £142 each, while further of their pens made £165, top price in class, and £148.

First and second prizes in the show class for ten Masham gimmer shearlings fell to local vendors, brothers James and Thomas Hall, from Darnbrook Farm, Darnbrook, who only recently moved into the breed when initially buying in 40 gimmer lambs.

They consigned 30 of them at the Skipton opener, with their prize-winning pens each making £135 per head. The red rosette winners joined DD Richardson in Newark. Their third Masham pen sold for £120 each.

The Halls, who are better known for their Swaledales, from which they produce Mules, were also responsible for the third prize Mule pen, which made £200 each. They sold further Mule pens at £202, £185 and £165.

Of the other breeds, Beltex gimmer shearlings topped at £150 per head for two pens from Martin and Val Brown, of Newton-le-Willows, with the same price achieved by the top price pen of Suffolks from Nick Dalby, of Hartwith, Harrogate.

Jimmy Wood, of, Dutton, Longridge, also caught the eye with a nice run of Suffolks, his six pens selling to a high of £132. Mr Wood also owns and runs Bowland Foods in Preston, multiple buyers of Skipton prime lambs.

Charollais gimmer shearlings sold to a high of £148 for an offering from Robert Towers, of Farleton, Lancaster, while John Bownass, of Giggleswick, was responsible for the top price £120 per head Lleyn pen

Show judges were Richard Crabtree, of Clifton, Otley, and Knutsford’s David Norcott. Sponsors were JACS Trade & DIY in Skipton, represented by Gavin Haworth, the British Wool Marketing Board, represented by producer communications manager Gareth Jones, JG Animal Health, represented by Robert Garth, and Top Tags, represented by Piers Holmes-Smith.

Full show results and principal prices are at