Wilf Buckle ‘belter’ ties up Skipton Swaledale ram £2,000 top price Strong trade, a 91% clearance for the 62 head on parade and tidy averages were the high points of the annual evening fixture for registered Swaledale rams at Skipton Auction Mart. (Mon, Oct 8) Long-serving Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association district secretary Wilf Buckle from Bleathgill, Kirkby Stephen, tied up top call of £2,000 with his pen-leading shearling ram, awarded first prize for the ram with the best conformation.

The tremendously strong bodied sheep, sired by a home-bred tup shared in partnership with fellow Cumbrian breeder and former Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association national chairman, Alan Alderson, of nearby Barras, sold locally to Craven Cattle Marts’ chairman Anthony Hewetson and his wife Heather, who farm in both Bank Newton and Giggleswick and are regular buyers at the annual fixture.
Mr Buckle also claimed third prize in the aged ram show class and a selling price of £350 with a home-bred 2 shear by a Sunter tup. In addition, he sold a second shearling ram for £750, while Mr Alderson himself made £400 with a home-bred 5 shear aged ram.
For the second successive year, Kevin Huck, of Knowle Bank Farm, Bordley, stepped forward with the first prize aged ram and overall reserve champion, a 4 shear bred by Andrew Marston, of Easegill Head, another village near Kirkby Stephen.
Run three times with the Huck flock, the son of a Hellbeck tup, from a Mossdale ewe – last year he had a £3,200 shearling ram - proved popular at the ringside before falling for second top call of £1,500 to Nidderdale’s Dick and Alan Burley, of Pateley Bridge.
Mr Huck, who was picking up the Stephen HK Butcher Trophy for the best aged ram for the third time in four years, was also responsible for the third prize shearling ram, by a Seal Houses tup from Arkengarthdale’s Malcolm Allinson, out of a dam sired by a Joe Nattrass ram. It made £700.
John and Jean Bradley, who run the Penyghent flock in Giggleswick, finished runners-up in the shearling ram show class with a home-bred by a £16,000 Skidmore tup acquired two years ago and shared in partnership with Cracoe’s Jack Wade.
The ram has this year produced his first shearlings and was also responsible just two days earlier for several of the Bradleys’ prize-winning gimmer shearlings at Skipton’s annual Swaledale females fixture. The class runner-up, by a Skidmore tup, out of a ewe sired by a Neil Richardson ram, made £750 when falling to Stephen Horsfield in Mytholmroyd.
Overall champion was the first prize shearling ram from the Cowperthwaite family’s Stockdale flock, based at the farm of the same name between Settle and Malham, and run by Robert and Lindsey Cowperthwaite, and their son Sam.
Home-bred by a Richard Harker tup, out of a dam by a John Richardson ram, the victor, recipient of both the Robert Young Perpetual Challenge Trophy and the M&J Spensley Trophy, sold for £450 to Arthur Ward, of Grantley, Ripon.
Also making the same price was the second prize aged ram from Chris and Christine Ryder, of Blubberhouses. The 4 shear was bred by the Ridley family’s Haltcliffe flock in Cumbria.
Bordley’s Roy Nelson achieved £650 with a shearling ram, with the Walker family from Dunsop Bridge and Linton’s Thomas Boothman both making £400 with aged rams, which sold to an overall average of £307 per head, with shearling rams averaging £284. Show judge was Malham Moor’s Bill Cowperthwaite.