Mashams and Mules perform well at third CCM Skipton gimmer lamb highlight The October gimmer lamb showcase at Skipton Auction Mart – the third sale of the season – attracted a turnout just short of 4,000 head and followed the trend seen this autumn,

with averages up across all sections bar one and trade for Masham and North of England Mules in particular taking a nice rise over the corresponding fixture last year. (Tues, Oct 5)

A total of 224 Masham gimmer lambs averaged £113.97 per head, up a solid £21.79 on the year, with 2,693 Mules averaging £105.36, an increase of £14.62 on 2020. Swaledales, 866 in number, levelled at £83.57, this a slight increase of £0.58 on the previous year, with 93 Dales Mules the only section to show a fall at £98.32, down £3.71.

Four prize shows for pens of ten were again in place. Receiving the Craven Cattle Marts Trophy when presenting the first prize Swaledale gimmer lambs were Dales father and daughter, John and Rose Tennant, of Low Buckerhouse Farm, Bordley.

Six in the pen were by a Paul Ewbank tup, a brace by a Robbie Hallam ram, plus one each by Porter and home-bred tups. They sold at £230 per head to Angus Dean in Threshfield, who clearly thinks a lot of the breeding as he also snapped up the Tennant third prize winners at last year’s fixture.

Next best at £190 was Rob Tennant, of Coniston with Kilnsey, followed by the second prize winners from Kevin Huck, again from Bordley, at £160. The third prize pen from Ian Wilson, of Lothersdale, made £130.

Swaledales attracted a good ringside of customers keen to secure nice skinned well-bred sorts. with overall trade deemed very acceptable given that lambs had generally come in from the fells a shade smaller this autumn.

The show class for North of England Mules from NEMSA members was won by Upper Wharfedale’s John and Gill Huck, and son James, of Church Farm, Hubberholme, with lambs by a brace of Ashley and Rachael Caton Otterburn Lodge tups, the 3-shear L15, now the family’s main stock tup, and N4, purchased at Skipton as a ram lamb last year.

The red rosette-winning pen sold at £135 to Newsholme’s Will Oldfield., the runners-up from Robert and Ellie Crisp in Calton doing better at £142, the third prize winners from Linton’s Jack and David Wade away at £128. Better Mule pens commanded £125-£140, nice and dark headed sorts £108-£120, with smaller runners selling in the £90s up to £105. Top call in section was the £148 paid again by Mr Oldfield for a single lamb from the Kitching family in Threshfield.

The red rosette in the Dales Mules show class, and with it the Josephine Bartlett Memorial Trophy, also headed to Upper Wharfedale with father and son, Richard and Matthew Close, of Calf Hall Farm, Starbotton. The long-time breeders, who have some 300 gimmers of the breed on the ground this year, saw their victors, by four different home-bred tups, go under the hammer at a section-topping £118 each when joining A Chadwick in Hathersage, the third prize pen from the same home making £100, the runners-up from the Tosside-based Taylor Bros £110.

The Masham Sheep Breeders’ Association-sponsored show class for the breed was won by first-time exhibitor Colin Willoughby, who farms with his wife, Janet, and son, Tom, at Woodend Farm, Redmire in Richmondshire – their lambs were later than normal to market because of the summer drought in their parish.

Eight in the pen were by a Masham-based Willis Graham tup, the other two by his sons. Recipients of the Kemp Spokes Trophy, the victors sold for £135 per head to WD Douthwaite & Partners in Kirkby Overblow – the family partnership comprises Chris Douthwaite, his daughter Amanda, the current Masham Sheep Breeders chairman, son James and brother Alan. The Willoughbys also sold a single Masham lamb exhibiting strong quality at a resounding £330 to D&M Buck in Barnard Castle.

From the same neck of the woods, Bainbridge Bros, of Marrick, stood runners-up, their charges knocked down at £125 each, with 2020 Masham show class winners, Allan and Susan Throup, of Silsden Moor, finishing third this year, their charges away at £128. Mashams sold well, the stronger end at £120-£130.

Swaledales were judged by Chapel-le-Dale brothers, Rowan and Francis Pickles, North of England and Dales Mules by Lancaster’s Mike Barker, and Mashams by Martin Croft, of Jervaulx. Also on parade were 64 other breed gimmer lambs, Cheviots selling to £86 and Welsh to £70.