John Bland four-timer at Skipton ewes with lambs show Skipton Auction Mart’s late season bank holiday show and sale of single ewes with lambs at foot is a happy hunting ground for Derbyshire’s John Bland, who notched up a notable achievement in the hill sheep section when winning it for an unprecedented fourth year in succession. (Mon, May 29)

He did it with a home-bred Swaledale ewe with her Mule gimmer lamb at foot, got by a Blue Faced Leicester ram bred by Gordon Rawsthorne in Nether Kellett, Carnforth. The outfit sold for £205 to Graham Jackson in Bentham.

In fact, Mr Bland, of Crowden House Farm, Crowden, clinched all three prizes in his show class, with the runner-up, a Swaledale shearling ewe and her Swaledale gimmer lamb, selling for £290, top price in sale, to a familiar local face in the NEMSA show arena at Skipton, Otterburn’s Ashley Caton.

The third prize winner, another Swaledale with her Mule ewe lamb – got by a ram from Richard Saxon, who works as shepherd at Crowden House Farm and has his own Blue Faced Leicester flock – sold at £110 to Joe and Nancy Throup in Draughton.

Linton’s Thomas Boothman, of Linton Hall Farm, who has already won multiple prizes at the mart this season with his ewes and lambs, including a clean sweep of the rosettes in the two show classes at the yearly opener in March, landed another one-two at the latest renewal with home-bred lowland entries.

His first prize winners were a pure-bred Texel hogg and her Beltex ram lamb, sold for £200 to co-judge Howard Kitching, of Northallerton, while the runners-up, a Texel-cross-Beltex hogg with three-quarters Beltex ram lamb, made £195 when joining Chris Craven in Kexby, York. Like the majority of his earlier prize winners, Mr Boothman’s latest consignment was by again by Beltex rams acquired from Skipton breeder Chris Windle.

The third prize hogg outfit, a Mule with single lamb from James Hall in Darnbrook, made £190 when also claimed by the Throups.

Hill sheep show classes were judged by Threshfield’s Charles Kitching, while the other co-judge in the lowlands was Dick Donaldson, from Snape.

A strong turnout of 215 outfits with 319 lambs at foot were forward for the weekly sale and, outside the show, anything with strong lambs was keenly contested.

JP Stirke, of Easingwold made £200 with his Texel shearlings with single lambs and £190 for Texel hoggs with twins, while Tracey Sutcliffe, from Horton-in-Ribblesdale, also hit £200 with Zwartble shearlings with twins.

Skipton’s John Stapleton achieved £195 with Texel hoggs with singles and John Handley, of Thornton-in-Lonsdale, £190 for Mule hoggs with singles. Commercial types of outfits, however, could still be bought for the equivalent of £45 to £50 per life.

Also penned for sale were 1,211 prime sheep, among them 570 Spring lambs, which, while not quite up to the quality of the previous week, achieved a satisfactory overall selling average of 247.3p/kg, or £99.65 per head.

The best end was around 270p/kg, up to a by-weight high of £3 per kilo (£111 per head) for a 37kg Texel pen from Kexby’s Chris Craven, bought by Vivers Scotlamb in Annan, with the same vendor also selling a second 39kg pen at 282p/kg (£110) to Keelham Farm Shop in Skipton and Thornton.

David Grassam, from Stockeld Park, made 286p/kg, or £123 per head, for 43kg Beltex lambs selling to Hartshead Meat Co in Mossley, while Pateley Bridge’s Trevor Stoney achieved 285p/kg, or £114 each, with 40kg Texels that again sold to Keelham. In total, 17 pens sold for 270p/kg or more, with nice three-quarter breds around the 245p to 265p mark and the commercial end 230p to 245p.

Richard Frankland, of Rathmell, presented the top price per head pen of Beltex-Texel cross Spring lambs, which made £131 each when selling to Kirklees sheep farmer and feeder, Liam Broster, who was buying on behalf of his family-run Broster’s Farm Shop at Lindley Moor, Huddersfield.

As expected for the time of year, the 489 old season lambs were a varied selection and this reflected in the overall selling average of £90.47 per head, or 204.5p/kg.  Best by-weight at 232.6p/kg (£100 each) was a Texel pen from Ben Shepherd, of Thorlby, claimed by Swaledale Foods in Skipton, while the top gross price of £120.50 per head fell to heavy Texels from Glen Bell, of Dibbles Bridge, which sold to Fairfield Meats in Wrexham.

Good hoggs with a bit of weight on board were again over £100, up to £110, with nice handy weighted types 210p to 220p/kg.

Completing the sheep entry were 152 cast ewes and rams. Cull ewes peaked at £114.50 for a single Charollais-cross from DN Smith, of Lothersdale, averaging £61.73 per head overall, while cast rams averaged £80.43.