Towell Texel tups top in show and on price at Skipton breed showcase South Craven Texel sheep breeder David Towell marked his return to the Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders Association show arena after a seven-year break with an eye-catching double - supreme championship and top price coups at the 34th annual two-day show and sale of pedigree rams and females at Skipton Auction Mart. (Thus & Fri, Sept 17 & 18)

While Mr Towell, who runs the Moor Top pedigree flock at Upper Leys Farm, Glusburn Moor, is a regular vendor at Skipton’s Texel showcase and has headed the selling prices and topped the shearling ram averages in recent years, he had bypassed the show classes of late – until this year, when he won back a high-profile title he last clinched back in 2002.

He tasted victory with his first prize shearling ram and male champion, Moor Top Vagas, by his own Procters Pay As you Go son, Wigglesworth Spellbound, acquired three years ago at the annual Skipton Texel highlight. The dam, a Moor Top ewe, is by Stainton 02, acquired from Cumbrian breeder Peter Woof. The supreme champion sold for 2,000gns to RN Kirby & Son, of Northallerton.

Now into his third breeding season, Spellbound was responsible for all but one of Mr Towell’s eight-strong shearling ram pen, with all the dams being by home-bred tups.

The headline performer on price was the March, 2014-born Moor Top Vodka, who topped the sale at 4,000gns. He is out of a ewe sired by Moor Top Outlaw, said by the breeder to be the best shearling in his year, and fell to show judge George Wilkinson, who has the Arkle pedigree flock in Asapatria, Cumbria.

While Mr Wilkinson had earlier said he couldn’t fault his chosen supreme champion, it was Vodka who raised his spirits and really caught his eye in the sale ring with its “tight skin and mobility.” He will prove a valuable addition to the Arkle flock, established in 2003 and now with 250 breeding ewes.

Mr Towell also scooped second top price in show of 3,000gns with Moor Top VIP, by a Moor Top Predator-sired ewe, who found a new home in North Craven with John Kelsey, of Cold Cotes, Clapham. Mr Towell’s top-notch shearling ram pen sold to an overall average of £1,910 per head.

At the pre-sale show, Mr Wilkinson said the fixture had attracted a good show of commercial sheep, with the shearling ram class in particular a credit to all breeders. He remained in this class for his chosen reserve supreme champion, the second prize winner and reserve male champion from former Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders chairman Steve Richardson. He and his wife Sherry, and their son Adam, run the Stonebridge pedigree flock at Mount Pleasant Farm, Great Houghton, near Barnsley.

Their February, 2014-born Stonebridge Viking is by the Aberdeenshire-bred Clinterty Scapa (by Clinterty Rio), acquired for 1,600gns and highly rated by Signet, the AHDB’s national genetic evaluation service for sheep and cattle. Out of a Turin North-sired Cambwell ewe, purchased at the Limestone reduction sale two years earlier, the reserve supreme champion sold locally to Skipton regular Simon Bennett, of Delph Farm, Silsden Moor, for 1,200gns.

The Richardsons were also responsible for the first prize winner in a new Signet show class for recorded shearling rams, with their Lincoln Show supreme champion, Stonebridge Victor, a February, 2014, son of Oldfield Upperclass (by Hen Gapel Thunder), acquired for 6,500gns and shared in partnership with three other breeders, Heyworth Lodge and Wellingley Texels, both based in Doncaster, and Meon Valley Texels in Hampshire.

Victor, who sold for 2,000gns to Wetherby’s Bob Newby, is out of a home-bred ewe by the 12,000gns Drumpark President, shared jointly by the Richardsons and fellow Texel breeder, County Durham’s David Nesbitt. Even though his breeding career was short-lived, Mr Richardson described him as “the best tup we ever had.”

The Richardsons, who also sold further shearling rams at 1,800gns and 1,600gns, then turned their attention to the sale ring when paying 1,000gns for the female champion from James Robinson, of the Kaker Mill flock in Carnforth, near Lancaster, who was stepping up on his reserve female championship success at the previous year’s Skipton highlight.

His first prize shearling ewe, a February, 2014-born embryo daughter of the Stirlingshire-bred Baltier Thunderbird, out of a Garngour Onyx-sired dam, is an ET sister to the interbreed champions at both Penrith and Garstang this year, with the former since sold for 7,000gns. Mr Robinson also sold a second shearling ewe for 800gns.

However, he was to do even better in the ram lamb section when his show class sixth prize winner, Kaker Mill War Horse, a February-born Sportsmans Tremendous 11 son, out of a Hilltop Predator-sired ewe, secured section top price of 2,100gns when joining the Gillians Laithe flock of teenager William Watson in Hellifield.

The shearling ram section saw unprecedented demand, with a year-on-year average up by £25.61 to £712.31. Another leading performer in this class at 2,000gns was Tatham Hall Viking, a March, 2014, Loosebeare Oh Ewe Star-sired shearling ram, out of a College Oz ewe, from Procters Farm in Slaidburn, the 2014 Skipton supreme champions. The buyers were A&GE Redhead, of Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Procters Farm also sold their third prize recorded shearling ram, the Brackenridge Strongbow son, Tatham Hall Viscount, for 1,400gns, along with the fourth prize ram lamb, Procters Wrestler, by Scrogtonhead U Stoater, for 1,050gns.

Standing reserve female champion was the second prize shearling ewe from the Hull House pedigree flock in Hellifield of local breeders John and Linda Mellin, regular prize winners at the fixture. She is a March, 2014, daughter of the Scottish-bred Langside Thunderbird (by Brackenridge), acquired in 2013 for 6,500gns and breed champion and reserve interbreed at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show.

Out of a ewe by Knock Orocco, also a 6,500gns purchase, the reserve female sold for 800gns to Richard Priestley, of Kirkcambeck in Cumbria. The Priestleys are familiar faces at Skipton, though better known for their Brontemoor pedigree Limousins.

However, top price in the shearling ewe class of 1,200gns, also the highest priced female, fell to another former Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders chairman and 2013 Skipton supreme champion, Calderdale’s Spiros Spyrou, who runs his Gib Farm pedigree flock in Hebden Bridge.

His February, 2014-born daughter of Anglezarke Uno (by Knock Trident), out a home-bred ewe by Stainton Ricochet, joined Graham Taylor’s Parkholme flock in Thirsk. Mr Spyrou sold further shearling ewes at 900gns twice and 800gns.

Also catching the eye in the shearling ewe class was a brace of entries from two Red Rose breeders that each made 1,100gns. One was the first entry into the sale ring from Angela Nairey, of the Meinspride flock at Bank Hey Farm, Luisey, Blackburn. Her February, 2014-born daughter of Strathbogie Terminator (by Castlecairn SAS Commander), out of a Glenside King 11-sired dam, fell to Chris Riby’s Stonehills pedigree flock in Fraisthorpe, Bridlington.

The same price was achieved by the fifth prize shearling ewe from David Houghton, who runs the Tophill pedigree flock at Isherwood Farm, Affetside, Bury. It is by the Castlecairn SAS Commander son, the 16,000gns Milnbank Times Square, out of a Knock Orion-sired dam – the same breeding as Mr Houghton’s 2014 reserve supreme champion at Skipton, another shearling ewe. His latest February, 2014-born offering joined Messrs Teward, of Staindrop, Darlington. Mr Houghton also sold a second shearling ewe at 900gns.

North Yorkshire breeder Philip Makin, of the Williambeck flock in Chop Gate, Bilsdale, was the red rosette winner in the ewe lamb show class with his January-born daughter of Procters Van Gough (by Tophill Union Jack), out of a Llangwm Noddy-sired ewe.

The sire was acquired last year by Mr Makin, Skipton supreme champion in 2011, and all six entries on the day were among his first crop of lambs to be sold, with all but one out of the same dam. The first prize winner sold locally to James Ashton, of Cross Roads, Keighley, for top price in class of 460gns.

Mr Makin was also responsible for the second highest price ram lamb with the January-born Williambeck Walter, by Garngour Ultimatum, out of a Didcot Record Breaker ewe, which joined Alex Bissett in Hexham at 1,950gns.

Good ram lambs were equally sought after. The first prize ram lamb came from North Craven’s John and Alison North, who run the Loxley flock in Giggleswick. Loxley William has the same breeding as their 2014 Skipton reserve male champion, being by the Milnbank Special One son, Mellor Vale Top Man, acquired three years ago from Stockport breeder Charles Bowden, out of a Garngour Patriot-sired dam. The February-born class victor, also a winner at Otley Show this year, made 650gns when joining local buyer George Wearmouth in Glusburn.

David Nesbitt, of Winston, near Darlington, whose Deneside flock won the 2012 Skipton Texel supreme championship, clinched first prize in a new recorded ram lamb show class with an entry from the Alwent Texel flock he also runs in partnership with his father Douglas, a former British Texel Society chairman.

The class victor is a February-born son of the Scottish-bred Brackenridge Underdog, acquired two years ago and runner-up at both the Highland and Great Yorkshire Shows for the past two years in succession, as well as being male and overall champion at Northumberland Show. He has sired sons to 6,000gns. Out of dam by Ettrick Rainbow Warrior, the youngster went under the hammer for 600gns when joining MJ&K Ayrton, of Galgate, near Lancaster.

The Alwent flock was also responsible for the third prize shearling ram, again by Brackenridge Underdog, out of a Goldies Supreme-sired dam, which sold away at 1,150gns to R Mortimer in Whitby.

Back with the ram lambs, Peter Woof’s Stainton flock in Cumbria was responsible for the second prize winner, Stainton White Heart, by Sportsmans Tremendous 11, which became another four-figure performer at 1,000gns.

Selling averages were: Shearling Rams £712.31 (2014 £686.70), Ram Lambs £423.81 (£444.94), Shearling Ewes £358.93 (£370.61) and Ewe Lambs £257.56 (£224.70).

Show sponsors were Carrs Billington, Minexcel Nutrition, Craven Sheep Breeding Services, Signet, Jamesons Feeds and CCM Auctions. Full results and principal prices are at