Stockdale Cowperthwaites claim championship and £1,400 top price at CCM Swaledale rams showcase Horns-a-plenty were on parade as Swaledale rams made their annual exodus from the northern hills and fells for the hardy breed’s annual evening show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart.

Once again, the fixture continued to perform well, a large and quality choice of registered aged rams and strong commercial shearling rams attracting buyers from a wide area looking for that particular stamp of sheep.

The sale produced an overall selling average of £505 for aged rams and while this represented a fall on 2020’s £539.29, the shearling ram average was nicely up on the year from £406.22 to £470, while probably most impressive was a 94.4% clearance rate, with only four rams among the 72 head failing to change hands.

The Cowperthwaite family - Robert and Lindsey, and their son Sam – of Stockdale Farm, high on the moors between Settle and Malham, champions in 2019 and reserve champions last year, were right up there again, regaining the title with their first prize shearling ram, sired by a Lightfoot ram out of a Ghyll House got ewe. It sold to the Shirt family, from Edale in the Derbyshire High Peaks for £1,400 top call.

Three other shearling rams achieved four-figure prices. Wilf and Stuart Buckle, of Bleathgill, Kirkby Stephen, made £1,100 of one by a Hargreaves sire, a price matched by Robert Tennant, of Hemplands, Coniston, with the very last sheep to be sold, this by a Brian Thornborrow tup, while John Tennant, of Bucker House, Bordley, achieved £1,000 with a West Briscoe son.

Also hitting £1,000 was the first prize aged ram and reserve champion from third generation Swaledale family JR Addison & Sons, of West Stoneykeld on Bowes Moor in south-west County Durham, their long-established flock first established by Dick Addison and now run by son, John, and his own son, David. The 4-shear ram, by a Richard Harker Grayrigg Hall tup and acquired as a shearling in 2018, joined Litton brothers Stephen and Stuart Lund.

However, it was WP&B Walker & Son, of Fold Farm, Appletreewick, who topped the aged section at £1,300 with a 5-shear that came from the Rukin Park Lodge flock as a shearling, finding pastures new in Nidderdale with Heathfield’s Bernard Simpson. Also from Appletreewick, father and son, Matt and Ted Mason, of Low Hall, made £1,000 with a Brian Thornborrow bred 5-shear claimed by another father and son, Dick and Alan Burley, from Wath, Ripon.

A third show class for the best conformation ram was won by the Edale Shirts with a 3-shear by a Hoggarth tup that made £500 to co-judge Finlay Macaskill, of Killin in Perthshire. Also co-judging was another Swaledale aficionado, Malham Moor’s Bill Cowpertwaite.