THE 2,157 prime hoggs on parade at Skipton Auction Mart’s latest weekly Monday sale were subject to strong competition for all classes from a packed, yet socially distanced line-up of buyers, right from the smartest end all the way through to lightweight hill-bred wethers.

They produced an overall selling average of £120.92 per head, or 274p/kg (SQQ 278.7p).

While the smartest lambs were in high demand numbers were still way short of requirements, with commercial lowland land hill-bred lambs, including North of England Mules, making up most of the entry.

The Hutchinson family, again travelling down from Faceby in the north-west corner of the North York Moors near Stokesley, were rewarded with another superb trade for their top-notch lambs.

They topped the day at £170 per head and 400p/kg for cracking Beltex-cross pens.

In the 36-45kg lowland lambs weight range, the Hutchinsons sold a 44kg pen at £169, or 385p/kg, and also 42kg Continentals at £168.

These were the top price per kilo at 400p, purchased by Vivers Scotlamb in Annan, who, among multiple buys, also went to £169 for 45kg lambs from mart regular Nick Capstick, of Bolton-by-Bowland.

Mr Capstick arrived with another great run of lambs, which all sold extremely well and at an eye-catching average for the trailer full at £160.65 per head.

Ellis Bros, of Addingham Moorsode, also did well again with a 41kg pen at £158, or 385p/kg.

Lowland lambs weighing 46-52kg averaged an amazing £131.20 per head

And it was this section that produced the Hutchinson £170 sale toppers, 41kg Continentals selling at 361p/kg to Hartshead Meat Co in Mossley, Greater Manchester, others from the same home featuring in a run of 75 lambs averaging no less than £151.19.

Ellis Bros sold 46kg lambs at £164, or 356p/kg, to Vivers, with Clitheroe’s Ian and Mary Lancaster, and F Webster, of Leeming Bar, both also right up there with £155 per head pens.

At the heavier end, lowland lambs 52kg and over sold to a top of £155 for 53kg Continentals again from Nick Capstick, claimed by Robertshaw’s Farm Shop in Thornton, followed closely at £153 each for two pens from W Stapleton & Son in Hellifield sold to Worsley Wholesale Butchers in Liversedge and locally to Paul Watson, also from Hellifield.

The Hutchinsons were right in there again with more high price pens, one at 54kg selling for £152 to Knavesmire Butchers in York, while Nick and Charlotte Brown, from Claughton, had a £150 pen claimed by ringside regular Andrew Atkinson, of Felliscliffe.

At the lighter end, some smart lowland lambs up to 35kg were forward, this section led by David and Sam Asquith, from Otley, with a 35kg pen at £114 per head, or 325p/kg.

Of the hill-bred lambs, Mule wethers continued to attract some cracking prices for all weights, with over 400 in the entry averaging £118.33 and topping at £136 from AC Simpson, of Bradwell, who also sold pens of 26 head at £130.50 and 25 at £130.

The top price 277p per kilo pen was consigned by Rossendale’s Joe Bosworth

Lightweight horned hill lambs were seen in increased numbers, Cheviots selling up into the £120’s, with a run of fed lambs from James Penter in Littondale topping per head at £127.50 and £125.50, with a per kilo high of 285.9p from GW Thackray, of Harewood.

Mr Penter also sold Herdwick lambs to a top of £130, these heading to retail butcher John Kearns for his Shipley shop. Other hill-bred lambs were a nice trade throughout.

Also penned for sale were 352 cull sheep, the majority ewes, with demand again solid across the board, notably for white-faced ewes with full meat, the best of which were able to command £120-£140, the same for top end Suffolks.

Crossed heavy ewes made £115-£120, medium pure types £100-£110, with half meat medium white-faced ewes generally selling at £80-£95.

Mules sold similarly on the week, though some massive ewes made just above £100, the bigger end £85-£95, mediums £76-£82 and plain £51-£65. Better Swaledale ewes made £69-£75.

Cull ewes averaged £77.29 and the mart stressed that more are required on a weekly basis, with a full ringside of buyers able to take high volume of numbers.

A small number of cast rams averaged £96.31.