CCM Skipton Swaledale females up almost £30 per head on year Horns aplenty were on parade at Skipton Auction Mart as Swaledale females came down from the hills for the annual gimmer shearlings and draft ewes Saturday fixture, when much enhanced trade across the UK sheep sector was again reflected in an overall selling average for 2,364 head of £116.34, up a solid £29.65 on the 2019 average of £86.39. (Sat, Oct 3)


A good autumn trade for North of England Mule lambs brought buyers to the breeding sheep highlight in confident form, with the increase in trade seen right across the board, though clean, bright ewes for crossing proved the pick of the trade, with top pens strongly contested.

Prize shows, sponsored by the mart-based WBW Chartered Surveyors and judged by Bordley father and son, John and Robert Lancaster, saw both defending champions from the previous year successfully defend their titles.

Leading honours among the ewes fell for an unparalleled fifth year in succession to a pen of ten from North Craven husband and wife, Stuart and Debbie Robinson, who farm with their sons George and Michael at Foredale Farm, Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

The Robinsons again did the business with home-bred 3-crop ewes, six by a Robert Cowperthwaite Stockdale tup, two by a Richard Hutchinson Kirkby Redgate ram, the other two by rams from Mark Ewbank and the Porters in Oxenhope. The victors sold locally at £185 each to Joe and Nancy Throup, of Berwick Intake Farm, Draughton. 

The Robinsons, who run some 320 pure Swaledale ewes, also had a further pen of ewes at £145, plus a £170 per head shearlings pen that stood third in their show class. Their annual consignment of 129 averaged £135.

As last year, the champion pen of ten gimmer shearlings came from Derbyshire’s Neil Richardson, of Fernyford Farm, Reapsmoor, near Buxton, ably assisted by 15-year-old son Barney. Three were by a home-bred tup and grandson of the renowned £46,000 Eric Coates Noble tup, three more by an Andrew Marston ram, plus two each by Helbeck and Tully tups. 

The frontrunners again sold locally for £180 each to Chris and Christine Ryder in Blubberhouses, with Mr Richardson also chipping in with the runners-up in the same show class, these selling for £175. However, it was the fourth prize pen from former Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association national chairman Alan Alderson, of Barras, Kirkby Stephen, that headed the selling prices for the second year running when knocked down for £210 to W Harrison & son in Weston, Otley.

Mr Alderson sold further pens at £200, £180 and £160, this matched by another Richardson pen, whose run of 104 averaged £144. Also catching the eye with £190 and £160 shearling pens were Johnny and Neil Cowperthwaite, from Eldroth.

Back with the show ewes, the Walker family, from Dunsop Bridge, sold their runners-up for £150, bettered at £155 by the third prize pen from John Bland, of Hawes.

Top prices and averages, all showing an increase on 2019, were: Swaledale ewes - 1 crop to £140 (av £122.93), 2 crop to £145 (£113.69), 3 crop to £185 (£109.64), 4 crop to £100 (£80.92).
Swaledale shearlings to £210 (£132.24).

It’s the turn of the males of the breed next when Skipton stages its annual evening sale of Swaledale rams this coming Monday, October 12.