David Towell tup top of the flocks with 3,000gns sale at CCM Skipton multi-breeds highlight Local Texel sheep breeder David Towell, who runs the Moor Top flock at Upper Leys Farm on Glusburn Moor, was the standout performer on price with a 3,000gns sale at Skipton Auction Mart’s multi-breeds sheep showcase for pedigree and pure-bred rams and females. (Fri, Oct 5) The South Craven farmer always does well at the annual highlight and he topped this year’s entire sale with a shearling ram by Moor Top Yorkie, sold at last year’s corresponding fixture for 1,400gns.

The grandson of the renowned and locally bred Wigglesworth Spellbound, whose progeny performed spectacularly in both the show and sale arenas in his six-year career with Mr Towell – Spellbound was responsible for his 2016 Skipton multi-breeds champion - joined Norfolk Texel breeders Henry Harvey & Son, from Waxham Hall, Waxham, who regularly make the long journey north to both sell and buy sheep at Skipton. Ben Harvey has often picked up tickets in the show arena.
Mr Towell’s pen of 18 shearling rams averaged £870 per head, with a further four ram lambs also selling well to a top of 410gns.
On what is always one of busiest days of the year at the North Yorkshire venue, a total entry of 1,178 rams and females saw pens packed to full capacity, with four sales rings in action covering the main sales for Blue Faced Leicester, Suffolk, Blue Texel and Zwartble sheep, together with second sales for Texel, Charollais, Beltex and other breeds.
Back in the MV Texel ring, some exceptional runs of sheep were on offer, providing plenty of choice for buyers and producing a solid clearance rate.
The ram lamb section was headed at 2,000gns by John Mellin, whose Hull House flock in Hellifield was selling lambs for the last time following a major dispersal sale of females at Skipton the previous month. The top price performer, runner-up in its show class, sold locally to Harold Peel in Embsay, with the Hull House consignment of 20 lambs averaging £432.
Cumbrian Texel breeder Peter Woof, supreme champion at Skipton’s main breed highlight last month, returned with an annual consignment of 12 lambs from his Stainton Hall flock near Kendal, which averaged £426.
Other notable shearling averages were achieved by John Green, of Melrose, with 13 to average £622 and to a top of £1,100, and Procters Farm in Wray, Lancaster, with 23 rams averaging £709, of which four made 900gns.
They included the breed champion, the first prize shearling ram, along with the second prize winner in the same show class, bought, respectively, by Cumbria’s Thomas and James Whiteford, from Brampton, and JL Miles, of Northallerton.
The vast majority of the shearling rams in the Procters Farm pen presented by Jeff Aiken were by two first-rate rams used successfully in recent years, the 4,400gns Whitehart Woody, who bred the champion, and the 35,000gns Scrogthead Ustoater, who has bred sons to 23,000gns.
The first prize ram lamb and reserve champion came from Richard Wilson’s Eden Valley flock at Low Field Farm, Appleby. His February-born son of the 30,000gns Knock Yankee, acquired three years ago and responsible for multiple show winners, including a Great Yorkshire champion, sold locally for 380gns to Sutton-in-Craven’s David Airey.
The first prize female, a shearling ewe from Jill Perrings’ Pergill flock in Giggleswick, sold for 280gns.
Section averages: Shearling rams £505 (2017 £564), lamb rams £307 (£287), shearling ewes £252 (£289)
There was a solid, though not spectacular trade for Blue Faced Leicester rams and females, with four shearling rams selling at 1,000gns-plus, to a top of 1,600gns for the section leader from Thomas Walker, of the Walker family at Fold Farm, Appletreewick.
The product of a Mereoak G2-sired ewe purchased as an in-lamb sheep from the Booth family in Feizor, north of Settle, and served by their Smearsett G11 tup, better known as Ted, joined John and Claire Mason’s Oddacres flock in Embsay.
Next best on price at 1,400gns was the section champion from the Kitching family – brothers Richard and Charles, and their sons Frank, Jack and Thomas - at Grisedale Farm, Threshfield. This, too, had Booth family breeding, being by the H8 Smearsett tup, which was also responsible for a number of lambs in the Kitchings’ champion pen of 20 at the second major ewe NEMSA ewe lamb sale at Skipton last month. Frank Kitching is NEMSA’s Skipton branch chairman.
BFL judge Jonathan Hodgson, of Windermere, transferred his interest to the ringside when claiming his chosen champion. The Kitchings also presented the first prize ram lamb, a full brother to their title winner, though a year younger. It was claimed by John, Gill and James Huck, of Church Farm, Hubberholme.
Father and son, Francis and James Caton, from Weston, Otley, hit 1,200gns with their leading shearling ram, once again by a Smearsett sire. It sold locally to Richard Woodsworth, of Storiths.
The Masons themselves caught the eye with a 1,000gns sale of their second prize shearling ram, by an Asby Hall tup, from a Kilnstown ewe, which also returned home with the show judge. The same vendors topped the ram lamb prices at 900gns with a product of their 2017-bought Smearsett tup, out of a Micklaw-sired ewe going back to a Smearsett ewe. It rejoined the Smearsett flock.
The Masons, BFL champions the previous two years, picked up further tickets this year when presenting the first and second prize females. The red rosette winner, also reserve section champion, was a gimmer shearling by their Micklaw G1 tup, acquired from Kirkby Malham breeder Will Wildman, which has sold gimmer lambs to 1,500gns.
The leading female, a full sister to the Masons’ 2018 Gargrave Show champion, sold for 550gns to JW Stockdale & Sons in Burnsall, the class runner-up for 250gns to Keasden’s James Garth.
Section averages: Aged rams £305, shearling rams £410, lamb rams £330, shearling ewes £420, ewe lambs £115. 
Champion in the Suffolk show classes was long-standing Derbyshire breeder Steve Buckley, who farms with his wife Louise and son, David, at Sittinglow Farm, Doveholes, near Buxton, with the first prize January-born ram lamb, who was among the first crop of lambs by a Midhope tup. The victor sold locally for 460gns to James Foster in Bolton Abbey.
Standing reserve champion with the first prize shearling ram were Nidderdale’s Ben Hardcastle and his fiancée, Heather Challis, of Halfway House Farm, Middlesmoor. It was the first time the couple had sold shearlings at the fixture and their home-bred son of a Simon Poulter tup joined Tony Shepherd in Eshton for 420gns.
Top price in section of 700gns fell to a shearling ram from Geoff and Margaret Lawn, of Stirton. Purchased by Peter Shackleton, of Hetton, it was among a quality run of shearlings from the local vendors that sold to an overall average of 495gns.
Part of the Suffolk section was a dispersal sale on behalf of Mark and Nicola Gornalls' Pendleton flock, near Clitheroe. Boasting both solid pedigrees and eye-catching quality, the couple received some heady prices for their consignment.
The top price performer at 500gns was a shearling ewe sired by Solwaybank Major and in-lamb to Rhaedr Rhonn. It fell to Cumbrian show judge, Keith Denby, from Longtown. Another notable price at 450gns was a 3-crop ewe, Birness Battalion, again in-lamb to Rhaedr Rhonn, which joined the Berry family in Haslingden.
While the Suffolks met a slightly easier trade compared to last year, a good clearance rate was still achieved. Section averages: Shearling rams £354, lamb rams £274, shearling ewes £248.
In the non MV commercial ring, over 400 pure and cross-bred Continental tups met with healthy trade throughout the day and a strong clearance rate.
Once again, the highlights came from annual consignments from two regular supporters of the multi-breeds sale, Thomas and James Whiteford, of Tercrosset Farm, Brampton, and brother and sister, Geoff and Ann Robinson, of Lucerne Farm, Pannal, Harrogate.
The Robinsons, who had 50 rams up for sale, topped proceeding with a first-rate Texel-cross-Beltex shearling selling locally for 1,400gns to Frankland Farms in Rathmell, who will host NSA North Sheep 2019 next June.
Next in line were the Whitefords, with their 70 rams peaking at 1,200gns, this one finding a new home in Wales with JR Jones, of Penegoes.
Another regular supporter, Rob Ellis, of Ellis Bros, on Addingham Moorside, saw the family’s pure-bred shearling ram by a Scottish-bred Airyolland tup first win its show class before going on to sell for 1,100gns top price to Paul Simpson, of Bolton-by-Bowland.
Non MV section averages: Texel shearling rams £377, Beltex shearling rams £465, Charollais shearling rams £332, Charollais ram lambs £178, Beltex shearling ewes £248.
Back in the commercial MV ring, the Charollais champion came from Stephen Hodgson’s Halfpenny flock at Northfield Farm, Patrick Brompton, Bedale. Showing for the first time at Skipton. Mr Hodgson’s shearling ram, by a Silton tup, sold for 580gns to the Sandham family in Yeadon.
Reserve Charollais champion was the first prize ram lamb from John Stott Jnr’s Kingsland flock at Crosscrake, Kendal. The embryo son of Cockermouth breeder David Norman’s Optimus sold for 360gns to D Birkett, of Barnard Castle. Mr Stott was also responsible for the second prize ram lamb, another Optimus son that stood second in class at this year’s Westmorland Show. It made 300gns.
The remaining show class for Zwartbles was won by former victor Matthew Beckwith with a January, 2016, 2-shear ram from his Sharphaw flock at Holme House Farm, Gargrave, By Wallridge Moor Corder, out of Clarewood Beauty Queen, it sold for 130gns top price. The first prize female from Austwick’s Samantha Hird made 120gns.
As in past years, Blue Texels again sold well. Scotsman David Alexander made the journey south from Galston in Ayrshire with his annual consignment of males and females, which sold to a top of 490gns for a shearling ewe bought by K Cockran, of Darwen, also selling other rams at 450gns and 440gns. Blue Texel shearling rams averaged £267, ram lambs £287, shearling ewes £321 and ewe lambs £309.
Other MV sheep section averages were: Beltex shearling rams £326, Beltex shearling ewes £223, Texel shearling rams £337, Charollais shearling rams £305, Charollais lamb rams £300, Zwartble shearling rams £136, Zwartble ewes £115, Bleu du Main £215, Hampshire £126.
Judges were: Texel - Roger Craddock, Bolton-by-Bowland, Blue Faced Leicester – Jonathan Hodgson, Windermere, Suffolk - Keith Denby, Longtown, Beltex and Zwartble – Martin Preston, Bingley. Keynote sponsors were the British Wool Marketing Board and Top Tags Animal ID.