Big day for commercial breeding sheep at CCM Skipton A Bank Holiday sheep day bonanza at Skipton Auction Mart, on Monday, incorporated 556 head of commercial breeding sheep, with annual show classes for single sheep with lambs. The Ribble Valley’s Ian and Mary Lancaster, and their son Richard, of Coldcotes Farm, Wiswell, produced runs of Beltex sheep with lambs at foot that sold to a top of £650 for a pure-bred black 3-crop ewe by a ram acquired from fellow Red Rose breeder Andrew John Wood, who runs the Withy Trees Beltex flock near Preston.


The same tup was also responsible for the Lancasters’ supreme champion prime lambs at Skipton’s high profile Christmas shows in both 2018 and 2019. Their latest outfit sold with a ram lamb at foot by another Withy Trees tup.

The Lancasters also sold outfits at £500 twice, £400 and £320, one of the first mentioned also winning the lowland ewe show class. This was another pure-bred Beltex 3-crop also by their top-performing Withy Trees ram, with single tup lamb by a Skipton-bought Wilson & Wood ram. The victorious outfit sold locally to the Heseltine family in Bolton Abbey. The second prize outfit from Skipton’s Richard and Patsy Hodgson also sold well at £310.

Derbyshire’s John Bland, of Crowden House Farm, Crowden, a multiple past winner of the single horned ewe show class, returned with his yearly consignment of Swaledale outfits to take both first and second prizes with ewes with single lambs by tups from the Booth family in North Craven. They were shown by his nephew, Alistair Bland, who is now running the farm, with the red rosette winners topping at £210 when purchased by show judge Will Wildman, of Kirkby Malham.

Swaledale ewes with lambs are becoming increasingly popular at the fixture and regular consignments saw a top of £240 for singles from the Hallam family in Tintwhistle in the Derbyshire High Peaks, plus two others at £200 from the same home for a run of correct sheep. One of the Hallam outfits finished runner-up in the show class, with others in the same section mainly £170/£185.

The single hogg with lambs show class was won by Richard Stockdale, who trades as JW Stockdale & Sons at Oats Cross Farm, Burnsall, with a home-bred Dutch Texel-x-Mule hogg and her wether lamb by a Skipton-bought Beltex tup bred locally by the Heseltine family in Bolton Abbey. The red rosette winners topped the section at £340 when selling locally to David Hargreaves in Airton, while other Stockdale outfits included two at £290 twice.

Hoggs with lambs were the best trade of the season so far, quality Continental outfits from Skipton brothers John and George Stapleton selling to £370, with others at £300. Local second prize winner Ellie Crisp, from Calton, sold outfits at £300 and £280, with Nick and Charlotte Brown, from Claughton, Lancaster, making up to £290 with their charges. Other commercial outfits were £230/£250, some plainer farming hoggs with lambs £170/£200. 

North of England Mule Hoggs were a cracking trade, Will Wildman himself selling outfits at £245 twice, £240 twice and £235, while Colin and Frank Stubbs, of Rathmell, saw home-bred outfits sell to £250. Young Mule ewes with twins sold to £285 and £265 from Linton’s Jonny Metcalfe. Only a handful of Suffolks with lambs were in the market, outfits with twins selling to £280 and singles to £240.

It really was a case of sheep aplenty, with the same day’s weekly primestock sale featuring an additional 1,857 head, comprising 1,137 Spring lambs, 284 hoggs and 436 cast ewes and rams.
Spring lamb vendors again came from near and far to take full advantage of the excellent trade seen at Skipton of late, with a bustling ringside of buyers swelled by the Bank Holiday attendance of two additional retail butcher buyers.

By weight, PB Fox & Son, of Dunnington, York, topped the sale again at 450p/kg with Beltex crosses selling to Brayton Farm Shop, Selby, which also snapped up the top price £186 per head Texel lambs from A&AR Phillipson, of Burnley.

Spring lambs sold to an overall average of £143.08 per head, or 348.4p/kg, while prime hoggs averaged £115.02, or 251.4p/kg. Cull ewes averaged £106.91 and cast rams £117.83.