CCM Skipton Swaledale females up by £15 per head on year Skipton Auction Mart’s annual Saturday Swaledale females highlight for gimmer shearlings and draft ewes attracted an entry of 2,671 head, which sold to an overall average of £86.39, a solid rise of £15.10 on the year. Gimmer shearlings levelled at £104.93, genuine draft age 3 crop ewes at £80.52. (Oct 5) Trade was said to be very sensible, with ewes in nice condition and buyers keener than the previous year, buoyed by a more positive North of England Mule lamb trade and plentiful grazing.

Many top pens of ewes met a similar trade on the year, although the best end of the gimmer shearlings proved dearer, selling to joint highs of £200 per head, one from former Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association national chairman Alan Alderson, of Barras, Kirkby Stephen. The regular supporter of the annual highlight also headed the 2018 prices, though at £40 per head more for this year’s consignment.
The other joint top price performer was local vendor, Sandy Harrison, from Cowling. The price-leading pens sold to, respectively, W Harrison & Sons in Weston, Otley, and Gordon Haynes, from Mitton in the Ribble Valley. Mr Alderson also sold a second shearling pen at £170.
Commercial ewes took a nice rise on the year, with straight working ewes selling in the £50s and £60s.
In the two show classes, the first prize pen of gimmer shearlings was presented by former champion, Derbyshire’s Neil Richardson, of Fernyford Farm, Reapsmoor, near Buxton, all said to be by costly tups.
Three were by a £24,000 Richard Harker ram, two by the renowned £46,000 Eric Coates Noble tup, two more by a home-bred Noble son, a further brace by an Andrew Marston ram, the other by a Rukin West Stonesdale ram. These, too, fell to the Harrison family in Weston.
Top honours among the ewes fell for an unprecedented fourth year in succession to a pen of ten from North Craven husband and wife, Stuart and Debbie Robinson, joined by son George, of Foredale Farm, Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
The Robinsons again won with home-bred 3 crop ewes, four by a Robert Cowperthwaite Stockdale tup, three by a Redgate ram, two by a home-bred son of Aygill Ace, the other by a Ewbank tup. Like last year, they found a new home in the Lake District with P&C Charnley, of Coniston. The Robinsons also sold two further pens at £110.
The show classes, sponsored by Skipton-based WBW Chartered Surveyors, were judged by Keasden father and son, James and Simon Garth. Runner-up in the ewes was John Bland, from Crowden in Derbyshire, his pen selling at £120, with a pen from the Walker family in Dunsop Bridge, standing third and selling for £145, as did the third prize pen of gimmer shearlings from 2018 red rosette winners, John and Jean Bradley, of Giggleswick.
Top prices and averages: Swaledale ewes - 1 crop to £95, av £81.05, 2 crop to £105, av £85.56, 3 crop to £150, av £80.52, 4 crop to £100, av £61.97. Swaledale shearlings to £200, av £104.93