CCM Skipton Swaledale females average shows healthy increase on year ‘Ladies day’ for Swaledale females, the annual Saturday show and sale of gimmer shearlings and draft ewes at Skipton Auction Mart, saw horns aplenty,

with 2,217 head maintaining improved trade prevalent across the sheep sector in general when selling to an overall average of £130.23, up £13.89 on the year.

Although the turnout was mixed in terms of quality, some sheep having summered better on the fells than others, strong pens saw prices nicely up on the year, some by £20 to £30 per head, while more commercial pens were a similar trade or slightly better on the year.

Top honours among the ewes fell for an unprecedented sixth consecutive year to North Craven husband and wife, Stuart and Debbie Robinson, who farm with their sons, George and Michael, at Foredale Farm, Horton-in-Ribblesdale.

The Robinsons again stood tall with their pen of ten home-bred 3-crop ewes, four by a Bowes-based Robert Hutchinson Valley Farm tup, a trio by a Robert Cowperthwaite Stockdale ram, a brace by a Rukin West Stonesdale tup, the other by a ram from the Porters in Oxenhope.

The victors headed the section prices at £195 each when joining co-judge Joe Throup, of Draughton,, the second prize winners from the same home, similarly bred - five by Porters, three by Valley Farm, the other two by West Stonesdale tups – selling at £175, matched by a second pen at the same price, plus another at £150, the family’s 3 crop sales averaging £154 For good measure, the Robinsons presented the second prize shearling ewes, which sold at £235 each, second top call of the day, their total consignment averaging £160.

Top price honours of £240 per head fell to the first prize pen of ten shearling ewes from lifelong Swaledale breeder Sandy Harrison, of Lumb Farm, Cowling. Acquired as lambs last year, the majority by a West Stonesdale tup, they sold to Chris and Christine Ryder, of Blubberhouses. Mr Harrison’s annual consignment of 30 shearlings saw his two other pens away at £195 and £190.

The third prize pen of gimmer shearlings from Derbyshire regular Neil Richardson, of Buxton, made £180, while other top price pens catching the eye came from Saddle End Farms in Chipping at £230, and former Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association chairman, Alan Alderson, of Barras in Cumbria, who sold pens at £210 and £200.

Of other leading prices, Bordley’s Roy Nelson, sold 1 crop ewes to £195 at an average of £192, with the Ribble Valley’s Thomas and Sheila Binns, of Downham, selling 2 crop ewes to £170, averaging £129. Overall, Swaledale shearlings averaged £148 per head.

Show classes, co-judged by Draughton’s Joe Throup and John Stott, of Chipping, were sponsored by Top Tags Animal ID, Wilson Contractors and Readymix Huddersfield.

It’s the turn of the boys of the breed next when Skipton stages its annual evening sale of Swaledale rams this coming Monday, October 11, with three trophies up for grabs.