ANOTHER improved overall selling average on the year was recorded at CCM Skipton Auction Mart’s second main annual show and sale of North of England Mule gimmer lambs again staged solely on behalf of NEMSA members. (Tues, Sept 19)

The 4,620 head on offer levelled at £126.22 per head, up a solid £10.35 on the year, as against the £130.05 average recorded at the flagship opener a fortnight earlier, itself a rise of £6.72 on 2022.

All classes of sheep met with a trade deemed excellent, with animated demand from a crowded ringside of regular buyers travelling mainly from the home counties, as well as East Anglia and England’s south-east and south-west counties.

It was as you were in the show arena, with the 2022 second show champions - the Hodder Valley Walkers and the Wharfedale Catons - again returning to retain their crowns in the 10s and 20s show classes respectively, the latter also standing runners-up with their 10s and further earning the bragging rights with the day’s £220 top price pen, which comprised three by P10 Weston, four by an Otterburn Lodge, the other three by home-bred tups.

The prolific Walkers - Geoff and Margaret and sons, John and Rob - of Brennand Farm, Dunsop Bridge, also stood champions for the fifth year running at this year’s NEMSA opener and were, in addition, completing a NEMSA main show double for the second consecutive year. As at the opening show, the majority in their pen were by home-bred tups, among them Brennand P10 and N9, and they sold for £210.

Father and son, Francis and James Caton, of Weston Hall Farm, Weston, were themselves achieving a memorable annual on the trot four-timer in the 20s show class with lambs similarly bred to their top price 10s and earning the family a top price double when also claiming section top of £195, plus another pen of ten at £170 and £150 for the fifth prize 20s.

Third place among the 10s went to Kevin Wilson, who farms with wife Daphne and son, James, at Hewness House Farm, Blubberhouses, their charges selling for £185, the same home also responsible for the sixth prize 20s, making £140.

The Kitching family at Grisedale Farm, Threshield, again figured among the prizes, standing fourth with their 10s, sold at £170 and third in the 20s, these making £145, another pen of ten away at £152.

Ellis Bros, from Addingham Moorside, consigned the fifth prize tens, sold at £140, with the Hubberholme Hucks, John and Gill, and son James, finishing sixth, their charges selling at £150.

Back with the 20s, the runners-up from John Smith, of Carleton, made £135, the fourth prize winners from Calton father and daughter, Robert and Ellie Crisp, £150.

With buyers again keen to secure lambs, the remainder of stronger lambs sold from £135 to £180, this for a 10s pen consigned by Edward and John Parkinson, also from Dunsop Bridge, with a medium lamb or strong runner regularly £125-£135, while £110-£122 dealt with the main of the rest of the lambs, just eight pens selling at £100-£108, a further eight pens from £80 to £98.

Craven Cattle Marts again presented special prizes for the highest flock averages. Of those consigning 200 or more lambs, the Kitchings did best at £131.10 for 219, followed by the Pickles family from Ribblehead with the day’s biggest run of 357 averaging £120.54.

The Catons achieved another coup with the highest flock average for 100-200 lambs presented at £148.73 for 183, followed by the Calton Crisps at £134.74 for 117, then £132.06 for 170 from the Blubberhouses Wilsons. Leading the averages for consignees of less than 100 lambs were Saddle End Farms, Chipping, with 25 at £146.40, then the Dunsop Bridge Parkinsons with 45 at £144.33, with Silsden Moor’s Allan and Susan Throup, and son Richard, next best with 50 at £140.80.

The pre-sale show was again extremely competitive, with 18 pens of ten and 11 pens of 20 put before the adjudicators - tens judged by Billy Roberts, Oswestry, and Thomas Binns, Downham, 20s by Michael Barker, Halton Park, and Josh Harding, Tarporley. Returning to again sponsor were Skipton NFU Mutual, Carr’s Billington, WBW Surveyors, Armstrong Watson Accountants, Shepherd Partnership Accountants and Harrison Drury Solicitors.