Red Rose supreme champion vendor and buyer coups at CCM Skipton Christmas prime cattle highlight The Red Rose bloomed at Skipton Auction Mart’s 14th annual Christmas prime cattle show and sale, with the Critchley family from Mercer Farm, Hutton, presenting the supreme champion, later returning across the border when purchased by long-standing customer David Green, of K&J Green Butchers, for his two shops in Heskin, Chorley, and nearby Standish.

Skipton regulars the Critchleys, represented by husband and wife, Tom and Charlotte, proved the headline act when clinching the coveted title with their first prize under 580kg heifer and female champion, a 525kg Limousin-cross acquired from local breeder Chris Akrigg, of Cray.

Recipient of both the Alf Lister Trophy for the champion beast and the Dick Binns Trophy, awarded by his family in memory of the late well-known Saltaire family butcher, the victor was hotly contested at the ringside, before falling for a price-topping £3,252, or £6.20 per kilo, to Mr Green, who also purchased last year’s Skipton supreme champion.

It proved a good day for the Critchleys, who also picked up another Continental red rosette in the haltered show classes with a 495kg Limousin-cross steer sold for 349.5p/kg, or £1,730, to co-judge Anthony Swales for Knavesmire Butchers in York, a multiple buyer on the day. 8

From the same home came the reserve champion in the un-haltered show class, a 600kg British Blue-cross steer knocked down for £1,977, or 329.5p/k, to regular buyers Ralph Pearson Wholesale Butchers in Bradford, who became the day’s principal purchasers when claiming 14 of the 47 under 30-month clean cattle on parade.

Just missing out on an unprecedented fourth successive supreme championship success at the Skipton festive highlight were Yorkshire Dales father and son, John and John Stephenson, of Bordley Green Farm, Bordley.

However, they did repeat their reserve championship success of the previous year, this going to the second prize under 580kg Continental heifer, a 580kg home-bred British Blue-cross by their prolific stock bull, Tanat Harlequin.

The reserve supreme also became the highest prices home-bred animal when selling for £2,259, or 389.5p/kg, to Anthony Kitson, of Kitson & Sons Butchers, who had a six-strong buying tally for his north-east butcher’s shops, primarily for the flagship Five Houses Farm Shop & Kitchen in Craythorne, supplementing his three high profile supreme champion purchases at this year’s English and Scottish Winter Fairs and the Royal Ulster showpiece.

The Stephensons were also responsible for the male champion, winner of the 581-680kg Continental steer show class and another home-bred 585kg Blue-cross by Harlequin, acquired a decade ago from North Wales and still leaving a strong stamp on the herd. He also sired their three previous Skipton Christmas supreme champions.

The steer was among the Ralph Pearson purchases at 381.5p/kg, or £2,231, while also arriving from the same home was the red rosette-winning 581-680kg Continental heifer, a 595kg Blonde D-Aquitaine-cross-Blue sold for 389.5p/kg, or £1,317, again to Kitson & Sons.

Standing reserve champion male was the first prize heavyweight Continental steer, a Limousin-cross from North Craven father and son vendors, Francis and Andrew Smith, of Lodge Farm, Masongill. Acquired from Cumbrian breeder Neil Slack, the 740kg steer sold for 324.5p/kg, or £2,401, to A&D Meats in Rossendale.

The Smiths also finished runners-up in the 581-680kg Continental steer show class with a Scottish-bred 620kg Limousin-cross, which made 347.5p/kg, or £2,154, when again on the Kitson’s Christmas shopping list.

Hellifield beef farmers, John Mellin and Clare Cropper, had a red rosette success in the native cattle show class with a Skipton-bought Beef Shorthorn steer, which weighed in at 495kg and sold at 329.5p/kg, or £1,631.

The couple, who are closely involved with Cropper Family Butchers & Deli in Accrington – they were the day’s principal purchasers of champion prime lambs - also presented the second prize under 580kg Continental steer, a 555kg Blue-cross bred in Middleton-in-Teesdale by John White, which made 349.5p/kg, or £1,939.

Both their charges again fell to Knavesmire Butchers, as did the un-haltered section champion, the under 580kg class winner, a 530kg Blue-cross steer from the Jowett family in Queensbury. Acquired from Wigton’s Chris Pears, it made 369.5p/kg, or £1,958. The Jowetts were also responsible for a third prize haltered 540kg Limousin-cross steer, again knocked down to Knavesmire at 349.5p/kg, or £1,887.

Elslack’s Jim and Christine Scrivin consigned a red rosette winner in the un-haltered show, a 695kg Blue-cross steer, which, at 354.5p/kg, or £2,151, was also among the Ralph Pearson purchases, along with a third prize 595kg haltered Blue-cross heifer, which became a second A&D Meats buy at 354.5p/kg, or £2,109.

There were two other regular purchasers who each claimed a brace of prime cattle – Phil Gregory, of D&A Gregory & Sons Butchers in Bacup, and Simon Barker, of the mart-based Barkers Yorkshire Butchers, who co-judged the prime cattle show classes.

All clean cattle averaged 339.5p/kg, with 14 of the entry making £2,000 or more.

The annual festive showcase was once more supported by multiple sponsors, with Skipton NFU again the keynote sponsor.