THE very first sheep into the sales ring, a shearling ram from the Kitching family at Grisedale Farm, Threshfield, also claimed 2,000gns (£2,300) top call at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual show and sale of pedigree Bluefaced Leicester rams and females. (Tues, Sept 26).

By N1 Otterburn Lodge, a ram acquired from local breeders Ashley and Rachel Caton that has proved so successful for the Grisedale flock, the top price tup sold to Paul Hallam, Horton-in- Ribblesdale.

The same purchaser also went to 1,600gns, second top price, to claim another shearling ram from the Walker family, Appletreewick, runner-up it its show class and by their main stock tup, Riddings M12, out of a home-bred ewe by K7 Otterburn Lodge. The Walkers also won the aged ram show class with a 2-shear son of Riddings M12, going to Ribble Valley husband and wife, Thomas and Sheila Binns, Downham.

Two shearling rams made 1,500gns, the first from Wharfedale father and son, Francis and James Caton, Weston flock, Weston Hall Farm, their L1 Low Tipalt son achieving strong interest ringside before heading to Nidderdale with A Newbould & Son, Dallowgill.

The Catons sold a second shearling ram at 1,200gns, again hitting four figures with a 2-shear aged ram by the home-bred L1 Weston sold at a section-topping 1,000gns to near neighbours W Harrison & Son. They also consigned a 700gns aged ram.

The other 1,500gns shearling ram came from Ellis Bros, Ilkley Moor flock, Addingham Moorside, their N1 Ilkley Moor son selling locally to WB Woodsworth, Storiths. The same home was also responsible for the first prize shearling ram and overall reserve champion, this by their high performance crossing tup, N11 Otterburn Lodge, which made 1,000gns when again knocked down to Thomas and Sheila Binns. In addition, Ellis Bros headed the female prices with a 300gns shearling ewe also by N1 Ilkley Moor going to E Mitchell, Fence, Burnley.

A high number of shearling rams achieved four-figure prices, including another brace at 1,200gns from the Mason family, Oddacres, Embsay, producing an overall section average of £668, very much on a par with the 2022 average. Oddacres also sold a ram lamb at 850gns.

The turnout of 147 head produced an excellent clearance rate, all bar one shearling ram sold, with total clearance of aged rams and a very high hit rate with ram lambs and females.

Ram lambs themselves saw more strength and quality than other years and buyers responded well, the section averaging £516, up on the previous year’s £490, with 1,200gns top falling to David Lodge, Whitbeck flock, Otley, with a Weston P10 son selling to the Oddacres Masons. The Threshfield Kitchings again chipped in with the second top 1,100gns ram lamb, a Smearsett R13 son going to DI Holliday, Clapham.

The supreme champion also came from the ram lambs, North Craven co-judges Stephen Sutcliffe, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, and Neil Cowperthwaite, Eldroth, tapping out the first prize winner from James Middleton, Wharfedale flock, Arncliffe as overall victor.

James was stepping up on his reserve championship success the previous year, again with a ram lamb by the same sire as his 2023 victor, the 16,000gns Dawyck P4. Out of a home-bred ewe by N2 Wharfedale, the title winner made 800gns when joining Calton father and daughter, Robert and Ellie Crisp. A brace of Wharfedale ram lambs averaged £682.

The third prize ram lamb from Nick and Heather Bowker, Stott Hill flock, Cowling, made 800gns to Taylor Bros, Tosside. The Bowkers also consigned the third prize shearling ram, sold at 700gns sale to H&M Plews, Kettlewell.

Aged rams averaged £575, another improvement on the previous year’s £483. The show runner-up from Robert Metcalfe, Brearside flock, Brearton, made 500gns to Rosemary Berry, Cowling, pipped at 600gns by the third prize winner from Nigel Peacock, Maunby flock, to N Carr & Son, Malham.

Kevin Wilson, Hewness flock, Blubberhouses, also sold four aged rams, three by F1 Harland, the other by a Smearsett tup, two among the quartet making 800gns and 700gns, all averaging £656. John Lancaster’s Bordley Hall flock was also responsible for a 750gns 2-shear aged ram.

Of the females, first and third prizes in show fell to shearlings from the Hutchinson family, Redhill flock, Kirkby Wiske, Geoff Richmond, Goosnargh, standing runner-up with another shearling, all three making 200gns, two going to Robert Peel, Arncliffe. Shearling ewes averaged £215.