Former farming journalist Howard Walsh headline performer with supreme champion and 1,400gns top price at Skipton Jacob highlight A top call of 1,400gns was recorded at the Jacob Sheep Society’s 46th annual Northern Area sale at Skipton Auction Mart and it fell to the overall supreme champion, the first prize shearling ewe from Howard Walsh, who runs the Thornley flock near Longridge, Preston.

Mr Walsh, who has been breeding Jacobs for over 20 years, though only keeps a dozen or so these days, was recording his first-ever championship success at a breed highlight he has supported for many years. He claimed the title with a home-bred March, 2020, 4-horn ewe, one of triplets by a home-bred ram, Thornley Vulcan, out of a Meathop Dun Boy ewe from one of the best families in the flock.

Reporting for the Farmers Guardian for 41 years – Mr Walsh retired as business editor – later saw his victor, tapped out by show judge and breed stalwart, Ulverston’s Clive Richardson, knocked down for 1,400gns top price to a Scottish purchaser, E MacMillan, of Fintry, Glasgow.

Welsh husband and wife, Robert and Jean Price, who run their respective Pentre and Pentrenant flocks in Churchstoke, Powys – both are multiple past champions at Skipton – again added to their past bounty of rosettes.

Mr Price stood overall reserve champion with his first prize shearling ram, a January, 2020, 4-horn triplet by the home-bred Pentre King Harp, which hails from a long-established and productive line, out of a Milldale Trueman-sired Kinloch ewe from Scottish breeder Mike Munro. The ram joined Joe Edmondson in Kendal for 200gns.

A second red rosette fell to Mr Price in the ewe lamb show class with a January-born 4-horn triplet by Kinloch Franco, out of an Edingale ewe sired by Blackbrook Don’t Push It. It got away at 450gns to Jennifer Milton, of Keith in Aberdeenshire, with the second prize ram lamb from the same home by the home-bred Pentre Frankie selling at 220gns.

Mrs Price, who in 2019 at Skipton set a new all-time breed record price of 4,600gns with her reserve champion ram lamb, presented the first prize aged ewe, a 2018 4-horn twin by Hope Flash Lad, acquired from fellow Welsh breeders Wyn and Siwan Harries, who run the Hope flock at Wenant, near Llandeilo in Carmarthenshire.

Bred out of a Pentrenant Freddy dam, the red rosette winner became the top price ewe at 700gns when joining same day vendors, the Stanley family, who run the Blackbrook flock in Melbourne, Derbyshire. Mrs Price also achieved 320gns with her third prize ewe lamb, again by Franco.

Mike Munro’s Kinloch flock in Ladybank, Fife, itself did well with two prize-winning ewe lambs, the class runner-up, a January-born 4-horn twin by Oakdean Dave, out of a home-bred Milldale Trueman ewe, topping its section prices and becoming second top price of the day at 740gns when returning to Scotland with fellow vendor Adam Christie, of the Adamski flock in Huntly, Aberdeenshire. Mr Christie himself presented the fourth prize ram lamb, a January-born 2-horn by Harbell Harper, out of a home-bred Hope Knock Out daughter, which sold for 220gns.

The fifth prize ewe lamb from the same home, a 2-horn single again by Oakdean Dave, out of a Crowe family Bentley ewe, also did well at 540gns when joining fellow vendor Jamie Hardman’s flock in Windermere, who also went to 400gns to claim the sixth prize ewe lamb from Tom Lewis’s Salopearl flock in Whitchurch, Shropshire.

Back with the shearling ewes, Master Matthew Benson, of the Mewstone flock in Pennington, Ulverston, claimed 650gns with his class runner-up, a February, 2020, 2-horn twin by Meadowland Gergio, out of a Mewstone dam daughter of Lower Argoed Torpedo, which became a further Jamie Hardman purchase. The same home was also responsible for the first prize aged ram, a March, 2019, 2-horn twin by Mewstone Gladiator, which made 170gns.

Show stewards Gavin and Rebecca Haworth, who run the Hurrsdale flock in Skipton, picked up a trio of rosettes, their top performer on price at 450gns being the third prize shearling ewe, a March, 2020, 2-horn single by the home-bred Hurrsdale Oxygen, out of a home-bred Beiliau Ricky dam.

It remained in the area when joining fellow vendor, Long Preston’s Claire Bentham, whose Greenbank flock headed the shearling ram prices with Greenbank Armani, a March, 2020, 2-horn twin by Rill Chill, out of a home-bred Hurrsdale Murdoch dam, which went home to Leyburn with D Maddan.

Ram lamb trade peaked at 510gns for the red rosette winner, a January-born 2-horn from Anwel Jones’ Celtic flock near Llanfynydd in Carmarthenshire. By a home-bred tup, Celtic Mini Ben, out of a Nettlebed Kerryman-sired home-bred dam, the class victor became a further Hardman acquisition.

The annual breed highlight attracted an increased catalogue entry on the year of 235 head, again from multiple members across many parts of the country. Chief prices and averages were: Ewes to 700gns, av £278, shearling ewes to 1,400gns, av £237, ewe lambs to 740gns, av £189, shearling rams to 600gns, av £294, ram lambs to 510gns, av £243