Trade was on the up and up at CCM Skipton's autumn sale of working sheepdogs with Alec Baines’ Tan Hill Harry take the top spot and selling for 5800gns.

With double the number of field dogs for sale, and three times the number of unbroken pen dogs, the air was abuzz at Craven Cattle Mart’s Autumn Sale of Working Sheepdogs, sponsored by Farmers Guardian’s the Mart’s the Heart.

Craven Cattle Mart’s general manager and auctioneer Jeremy Eaton commented: “The word must have spread regarding the consistent quality of the dogs and the trade following our last field sale in July, resulting in an encouraging increase in numbers of dogs for sale this time around. We were once again happy to welcome a good crowd from across the UK, and a number of online bidders who watched the livestream."Showing off their prowess and skills in the main field, the run of 30 fully trained sheepdogs got off to a good start, with the first in the ring selling for 3000gns, setting a decent precedent for the day.

The day’s top price was achieved by Kirkby Stephen working sheep dog stalwart and trialling legend Alec Baines, of Tan Hill Sheepdogs, with his March 2021, black and white dog Tan Hill Harry, selling for 5800gns. Harry is sired by Jed, from Andrew Procter in nearby Great Musgrave, acquired for £6,900 at a timed online Skipton sale in 2020 and a full brother to Kevin Evans’ German import, Red Spot. Out of Mr Baines’ own trials-winning Tan Hill Lassie and already a nursery trials winner on his first outing this year, Harry sold to a local farmer who asked not to be named.

Two dogs made 4,400gns. First up was Red Rose handler Colin Birkett, a Carnforth beef and sheep farmer, with his two-year-old black and white dog, Mal, by Tom Rome’s Jack, out of Malcolm Cottam’s Mist. The local buyer was Gary Lodge, who runs Swaledale sheep on Malham Moor and a 70-strong Limousin-x suckler herd. Mal will be used solely as a work dog.

Also hitting 4,400gns was County Durham regular Jean Howes with her June 2021, red, white, and tri-coloured bitch, Ruby, the last of a long-established and highly successful Redgate line going back to her late father Bill Skidmore; one of the pioneers of early working sheep dog sales at the North Yorkshire venue. By KJ Goatcher’s Red, out of Jean’s own Redgate Dot, Ruby became the first-ever dog to be owned by Alison Bell, of Morpeth, Northumberland, who is now taking a more active involvement on the family sheep farm, where she also runs a wedding venue business.

It was a successful day for young Welsh trainer Arran Games, of Crickhowell, South Wales, who sold his August 2019-born black and white bitch, Sky, for 3500gns and January 2021-born black and white bitch, Milly for 4000gns.

Trade ranged from 100 to 1000gns in the pup pen, with the CCM Summer Sale's top price seller, Willie Torrens, seizing a joint top spot. Torrens’ 14-week-old bitch pup, Jan, quickly garnered the attention of bidders. With her sleek look and keen eye, she showed excellent promise and swiftly sold for 1000gns. Arran Games' four-month-old tri-dog, Clide also topped at 1000gns, selling locally to J&G Throup of Addingham. Showing excellent potential and instinct, Clide - out of Games’ earlier sold Sky - is sired by Scott, owned by Arran's brother, Ross Games.