THE inaugural show and sale of Valais Blacknose sheep on behalf of the newly-formed Northern Club at Skipton Auction Mart saw the very first sheep into the sale ring, the first prize ewe lamb and reserve female Cchampion from Adam Kirkbride, who runs Cumberland flock from near Keswick, claim 3,000gns top call. (Sun, Nov 3)

His April-born Cumberland Kelda is by Biner Castor, a rarely used Swiss import tup, with the dam originating from the Highland flock and whose grand sire, Highland King Kong, another import, has bred exceptionally well in the Cumberland flock. With excellent wool, the top price performer went to Wensleydale to fellow breeder Laura Blades, from Hawes.

The same home was also responsible for the second prize ewe lamb, Cumberland Kora, a May-born single by the Mullen family’s Westmorland Gold Digger, out of the Blackertor Fandago-sired dam, Blackertor Firefly, who bred the reserve female champion at the 2022 Worcester Southern show and sale. She made 1,800gns when joining Melissa Christie in Crewe.

A brace of 2,800gns selling prices fell to the same Scottish vendor, Tom Blackwood, who runs the Ayrshire flock in Stewarton, East Ayrshire. First up was his first prize and top price aged ewe, Ayrshire Iris, a September-born two-year-old by Shoemakers Victor, out of Camp House Faith, herself by Whitehall David. She fell to Cockermouth’s Lin Crosland.

Also hitting 2,800gns and heading the shearling ewe prices was the fourth prize winner, the September, 2021, Ayrshire Innocence, a September, 2021, single again by Shoemakers Victor, bred out of a Gemstones ewe, which went to Northern Ireland with Hannah Morrison, of Downpatrick, Co Down.

Next best at 1,700gns was the fifth prize shearling ewe from Scottish breeders Anne Garthwaite and Claire McGeorge, of the Horsemill flock in Middlebie, Lockerbie, with Horsemill Jess, a July, 2022, twin by Wynner Hercules, out of a Jura ewe and daughter of Westmorland Duncan. The buyer was Michael Mallinson, of Mount Tabor, Halifax, Two further ewe lamb prize winners from the same home, both November, 2022-born, each made four figures. The fifth prize Horsemill Jiselle, a Hullockhowe Ezra son, achieved 1,100gns, the sixth prize winner, Horsemill Jamilla, by Westmorland Iceman, 1,000gns. The respective purchasers were Harelaw Valais Blacknose, from Chairside in the Scottish Borders, and T Patchett, of Leeming Bar.

Catching the eye at 1,500gns was the fourth prize ewe lamb from Alexandra Burch’s Birchfield flock at Lowgill, Kendal. Her Birchfield Kinder Scout, a January-born twin by the home-bred ram, Birchfield Idris, out of a Mooarhill Fagan-sired dam, became a further Lin Crosland acquisition.

Mrs Burch also claimed 1,000gns with her sixth prize shearling ewe, Birchfield Juliette, a March, 2022, twin by the home-bred Birchfield Happy, out of another Moorahill Fagan dam, again going to Mr Patchett.

Also picking up rosettes in the shearling ram show class were Alan and Hazel Watson, who run the Middleton Hall flock near Kirkby Stephen. The runner-up was Middleton Hall Jasper, an April, 2022, twin by Topwell Finnigan, a full brother to Middleton Hall Gino, who has sold shearlings to £4,650, and the fifth prize Middleton Hall Jack, by the home-bred Middleton Hall Danny. Both sold at 1,000gns, the former, bred from a home-bred ewe which was by the imported ram, Eyer Natalis, also joining Lin Crosland, the latter again going to Michael Mallinson.

The Watsons also claimed top call of 2,200gns for the third prize winner in a standalone Spitti show class, Middleton Hall Ki Ki Dee, born this February to Topwell Finnigan. The Welsh purchaser was Iwan Evans, of Denbigh.

North Wales show judge Gerrallt Jones, from Waunfawr, tapped out the first and second prize shearling ewes from Tim Dunne and Susan Mullen, who run the Westmorland flock at Bleatam, Appleby, as his chosen champion and reserve, though both returned home.

The inaugural show for the Northern Club, established earlier this year, attracted an entry of 71 head. Top prices and averages: Shearling Ewes to 2800gns (av £1691), Ewe Lambs to 3000gns (av £1441), Ewes to 2800gns (av £1557), Shearling Rams to 1000gns (av £840), Ram Lambs to 500gns (av £420), Aged Rams to 800gns (av £840).