Online bidding facility boosts annual CCM Skipton Suffolk females sale Derbyshire and Cheshire breeders lead the way in show and sale While current circumstances might well have adversely affected Skipton Auction Mart’s second annual winter weekend fixture for pedigree Suffolk females this proved far from the case when the mart’s decision to add online bidding to the live auction created a strong virtual company of buyers, with internet bidders keenly contesting the majority of lots.


Derbyshire-based Steve and Louise Buckley’s Sitlow flock at Sittinglow Farm, Dove Holes, Buxton, headed both the shearling and aged ewe prices, the former at a sale-topping 1,300gns with a January, 2019-born twin by Strathbogie Peaky Blinder, who did a fantastic job for the flock, last year producing sons sold to £4,000, before himslef being sold to Northern Ireland. 

Among his first crop of daughters, the top price performer, out of a Stockton Turbine-sired dam and herself scanned carrying twins to the 2,200gns Pyeston Stormzy, a Scottish-bred tup used successfully for the past two years, joining a North Yorkshire who farm near Thirsk.

The Buckleys also topped the aged ewe prices at 900gns with a January, 2018, twin by Salopian He’s The Boy, and full sister to the highly regarded Sitlow Concept, whose sons have sold to 2,300gns. Out of a Jubilee Legacy ewe and again sold in-lamb to Pyeston Stormzy, this time carrying triplets, the ewe returned to Derbyshire’s Peak District with Ron Darlington, of Hartington.

Having bred Suffolks for four decades – they currently have a flock of 70 ewes – the Buckleys arrived with a 14-strong consignment of two shearling ewes, four aged ewes and eight gimmer lambs, one of which made 750gns, two others hitting 650gns. 

Making his first-ever appearance in the sale ring was up-and-coming 19-year-old breeder Harry Lyons, who runs the Cloudside flock at Beech Tree Farm in the village of the same name near Congleton. He began with Suffolks as a 14-year-olds after being given one as a pet lamb by a neighbour and has not looked back since, carefully building his flock to its current holding of 30 breeding ewes.

Young Harry made an immediate impact when heading the ewe lamb prices at 1,050gns with a December-born triplet by the 30,000gns Salopian Scuderia, the Suffolk Sheep Society’s 2020 ‘Sire of the Year,’ who has bred sons to 32,000gns. 

Out of a fleshy ewe purchased last year from the Lakeview flock, the leading price gimmer lamb was fancied by many parties before returning to Cheshire with Jill Davies, who runs Albea Suffolks at Hough, Crewe. She, too, is a relatively new breeder, establishing the flock some four years ago and now comprising 30 ewes, all currently in-lamb, and some 13 ewe lambs.

Jill said: “A couple of entries in the online catalogue took our eye, so we decided to travel up to Skipton and have a closer look as I need to see them in the flesh. I am over the moon with the ewe lamb. Being by the Sire of the Year she is really special and I am sure she will do really well for us. Harry has done a super job. I love to see someone so young doing well. Hopefully, we can follow in his footsteps!”

Jane Soulsby, who runs the Williamsgill flock at Temple Sowerby, Penrith, travelled down from Cumbria with three shearling ewes, all scanned in-lamb to Middlemuir Hendricks, the trio all finding new homes at 700gns, 500gns and 480gns.

Red Rose breeder Geoffrey Richmond, of the Sullom flock in Goosnargh, Preston, also caught the eye with a 700gns aged ewe, a January, 2016 ET daughter of Ballynacanon Back To The Future, scanned carrying twins to Claycrop. She sold locally to Alan Middleton, of the Beamsley-based Hartley farming partnership.

The sale – there were no show classes - saw a very high clearance rate and solid averages on the year. Shearling ewes averaged £720.30 (2019 £653), aged ewes £603 (£423) and ewe lambs £477.57 (£508).