AN excellent start to the pedigree year at Skipton was complemented by a brand-new fixture.

The inaugural ‘Blue Diamonds’ winter sale of 15 pedigree in-lamb Blue Texel females which had created keen pre-sale interest and selling prices certainly backed up this optimism.

Mother and daughter, Elaine and Issy Hartley, from the Pendle flock in Roughlee, Nelson, were the headline performers with a brace of February-born ewe lambs that both made four figure prices.

First up and selling at 1,100gns was Pendle Emma, by Sams Cosmos, a winner of many male championships and part of the interbreed champion pairs and groups of three in 2019.

Her dam is by Hackney Xcel, who has bred progeny to 2,000gns.

The top price performer sold to Stuart Wood of Skeen in Aberdeenshire for his son’s own flock.

The second sale of 1,000gns was for Pendle Ellin, whose sire, Millside, was acquired for his power and size.

Out of an imported ewe, she joined Cumbrian buyers Andrew and Ivinson, of Ousby.

Mark Stephenson, who runs the Londesborough flock at Warter, near Pocklington, sold ewe lambs at 900gns and 700gns three times.

His top price was for the February-born Londesborough Esmerelda, by Burnholm Dante out of an imported dam.

From the unaccredited section, local vendor Elsa McKechnie, who runs the Silver Birch flock in Wigglesworth, sold a home-bred shearling scanned carrying twins at 850gns.

A 2018-born in-lamb North Valley aged ewe from the same home made 650gns.

Solid averages of £641.66 for shearling gimmers and £700 for ewe lambs were achieved at the launch fixture, which is likely to become an annual event running alongside the NATB winter females highlight.

This year both sales were complemented by a bolt-on online bidding facility.