Grisedale Herdwick sheep champion at Skipton native breeds highlight A Herdwick gimmer shearling from Ian and Angela Grisedale, of Green Mount Farm, Crooklands, Kendal, was champion in the sheep show classes at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Rare & Native Stock Breeders Auctions of rare, minority and traditional breeds of cattle, sheep, goats and pigs.

The Grisedales have been breeding Herdwicks for around six years at their Cumbrian holding, where they also raise Beltex-cross and Texel-cross ewes, and pedigree Limousin cattle.


Mr Grisedale said the Herdwick breed was growing in popularity after being given protected denominations of origin (PDO) status by the European Commission last year, allowing farmers to more effectively target new commercial markets.


The PDO classification for Lakeland Herdwick, a true fell breed, signifies that it should be born, raised and slaughtered in Cumbria and 95 per cent of the 50,000-strong Herdwick flock are based in the county.


With a flock of around 100 pure and cross-bred Herdwicks, Mr Grisedale said: “Meat from commercial lambs is a bit darker, similar in colour to venison, with a wonderful texture and taste, though it does not want under-cooking. It is becoming much more popular, not only with butchers and catering establishments across the Lake District, but also among leading chefs in London.”


The Grisedales’ title winner was among a pen on nine gimmer shearlings and six ewe lambs, with shearlings selling at 105gns and 100gns.


In the native breed cattle show classes, the champion was a 13-month-old Hereford heifer from the well-known Corniggs pedigree herd of Weardale’s Harry Elliott at Low Cornriggs Farm, Cowshill, Bishop Auckland. Cornriggs 1 Mink 4th, by Spurstow 1 Victor, out of Romany 1 Mink, sold for 1,300gns to Richard Saxby, of Waddington in Lancashire.


James Barker, of Tadcaster, overall sheep champion at last year’s corresponding fixture with a Hebridean shearling ewe, won another red rosette at the latest renewal, again with a shearling ewe by a Cillimore Skerryvore-sired Brookeswood ewe, which sold for 55gns to Joe McRobert, of Biggar in South Lanarkshire.