SWALEDALE females had their annual show and sale outing at Skipton Auction Mart and while the overall selling average of £110.40 was down £14.65 on the year for an increased entry of 2,453 head trade was better than anticipated and in front of expectations. (Sat, Sept 30)

Demand for strong, good skinned ewes and gimmer shearlings saw five pens of ten achieve £200, among them both red rosette winners in their respective shows.

Winning the ewes show class for a unprecedented eighth consecutive year were the Robinson family - Stuart and Debbie, who farm with their sons, George and Michael, at Foredale Farm, Horton-in-Ribblesdale. They again finished first with 3-crop ewes, top price in their age group, two by home-bred tups, three each by Punchard and Overthwaite rams, the other two by Redgate and Valley Farm tups.

Moreover, the Robinsons narrowly failed to repeat their double show-winning success the previous year when standing runners-up in the gimmer shearlings show class, five in the pen by a Bill Cowperthwaite Malham Moor ram, three by home-breds, the remaining duo by Patterdale tups. They, too, were among the £200 joint top price sales.

So too were the first prize gimmer shearlings from Sandy and Sheila Harrison, Lumb Farm, Cowling, all ten by Clarkson and Stoddart tups, while also joining the £200 club were Swaledale Sheep Breeders Association stalwart Alan Alderson, Barras, Kirkby Stephen, and local vendor WB Woodsworth, Storiths.

The third prize gimmer shearlings from the Ribble Valley’s Thomas and Sheila Binns, Downham, made £190, the second prize ewes from Rob Tennant, Conistone-with-Kilnsey, £180, plus another pen at the same price – these the best of the 2-crop - while the third prize ewes from John Smith, Carleton, sold at £115.

In the mix, plenty of nice 3-crop draft ewes made £100-£140, a more commercial type £80-£100 and the plainer end of 4-crop ewes £65-£80. Shearlings averaged £141, 1-crop ewes £108 (£160 top Roy Nelson, Bordley), 2-crop £111, 3-crop £96, 4-crop £83 (£142 top Robert and Ellie Crisp, Calton). Show co-judges were partners Thomas Walker and Annabel Mason, with Top Tags Animal ID again sponsoring.

The fixture also included a dispersal sale of 199 head of registered Dalesbred ewes from the Masongill flock of the Ryder family, stalwarts of the breed across four generations equating to nigh on a century, with multiple championships and leading prices to their names.

A nice trade ensued, with breeders keen to secure the best lines from this renowned flock. The sale leading price of £450 fell to the first sheep into the ring, a gimmer shearling by the £7,000 Lambert ram, out of a ewe with John and Jean Bradley, Giggleswick, bloodlines, themselves dyed-in-the-wool Dalesbred aficionados. It sold to Andrew Linney, Clapham.

A 1-crop by the £3,700 Harrison sire sold for £400, as did another 1-crop by the same sire, out a ewe by the £1,600 Carr ram. Gimmer lambs sold to £300 for one by the Dawson sire out of a £4,000 Gill-got ewe.