Booth repeat championship double at Skipton NEMSA opener A back-to-back championship double was secured by the Smearsett flock of North Craven’s WA&A Booth at the big opening annual ewe lamb show and sale for members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) at Skipton Auction Mart.

As in 2013, the Booths, of Old Hall Farm, Feizor, consigned both title-winning pens of ten and 20 Mule gimmer lambs at the annual showcase, which remains one of the leading fixtures of its kind in the North of England and the first major Mule lamb sale of the year.


Robin Booth led out the two title-winning show pens, all by home-bred tups, with the family’s Bluefaced Leicester ram, D15 Smearsett, again to the fore. The renowned tup was responsible for half of the victorious pen of tens, which sold for a sale-topping £195 per head to John Wilson and Janet Dunning, of Settle. Mr Wilson also bought the Booths’ 2013 champion pen of tens.


Seven of their victorious pen of 20s were also by D15, a former Kilnsey Show supreme champion, and they went on to sell for £170 each, again top price in class, to co-judge Ken Gill, of Burton Lazars, Melton Mowbray


The fixture attracted a solid turnout of 7,810 Mules, a significant increase on 2013 and described as a “tremendous entry and wonderful show of lambs” by Craven Cattle Marts’ livestock sales manager Ted Ogden, who paid tribute to all vendors for their year-long efforts in preparing their charges for the high profile seasonal opener.


With a 10% increase on numbers sold the previous year, the overall sale average levelled at £99.88 per head and, while this was down £2.12 per head on the year, the general story of the sale was that running lambs were dearer, while tupping lambs were cheaper.


NEMSA Skipton branch chairman Kevin Wilson, of Hewness House Farm, Blubberhouses, noted that trade was much in line with expectations and, with lots of good lambs about, the overall average reflected great credit on members for their efforts in the current climate.


The Fawcett family – husband and wife Stephen and Tracey, and their daughter Sammy - of Fold House Farm, Drebley, presented the second prize pen of tens, as they did last year, with their 2014 runners-up – the majority home-bred and either sons or grandsons of their old stock tup Y9 Dale Head - selling at £180 per head, second top price in show. They also had the sixth prize pen in the 20’s show class, these selling away at £150 each.


Stephen’s brother John Fawcett, of Dale Head Farm, Barden, performed well with his sixth prize pen of tens, which made £178 per head. Also catching the eye at £170 each was another pen of tens from Ken and Lynne Throup, of Silsden Moor.


Multiple past champions Ashley and Rachel Caton, of Otterburn, were again prominent when presenting the second prize pen of 20s and the fourth prize tens’ pen, most by D2 Middleton Hall sons and the family’s new championship-winning Greenhow tup, acquired last October. The tens sold for £142 per head and the 20’s for £122 each.


Kevin Wilson himself stood third in both show classes, achieving £160 per head with his pen of tens and £135 with his 20’s. Also achieving £160 per head with a tens’ pen were Embsay’s John and Claire Mason.


CCM Auctions again presented cash prizes for the day’s leading flock averages. Of the vendors consigning 100 or more lambs, the all-conquering Booth family headed the averages at £129.82 per head with their 133-strong batch, followed by Steve and Samantha Fawcett at £118.91 with 127 lambs, and Joe and Nancy Throup, of Draughton, at £115.56 with 124 lambs.


Tosside’s Trevor and Clive Robinson led the flock averages for under 100 lambs presented, with their 20 charges levelling at £116 per head, followed by Bordley’s John Lancaster at £113.69 for his 80 lambs and £110.60 for 73 lambs consigned by Calton’s Robert Crisp.


Title winners in both show classes received Ciba Geigy perpetual trophies, with the champion pen of tens, judged by Richard Batty, of Selside, and Chris Hewitt, of Tatham, also awarded the Chester Kneller Memorial Trophy. The other co-judge in the 20’s class was Margaret Liddle, of Summerbridge.


A newly-donated shield for the best run of 40 or more lambs was judged by visiting NEMSA inspectors from the North Cumberland branch and awarded for the first time to Ellis Bros, of Addingham Moorside.


Show classes – full results and prices are at - were sponsored by Pearson Farm Supplies, Armstrong Watson Accountants & Financial Advisers, and Barclays Bank. The spotlight now turns to Skipton’s second annual NEMSA gimmer lamb show and sale on Tuesday, September 23.