NICK Oliver, who runs the Carperby Pastures flock near Leyburn, was the standout performer by far with his home-bred ram lamb, which set a new breed society record price of 850gns for a tup lamb at the 128th annual Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders Association show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart. (Sat, Aug 31)

He achieved it with the first prize and best fleshed ram lamb, one of twins by Princethorpe Carlsberg, acquired from Warwickshire breeder Dr Lynn Clouder and still being used as a stock tup. The same ram was also responsible for the Skipton reserve champion two years earlier.

Out of a dam by Endrigs Celebration, the ram lamb finished third in its breed show class and reserve champion local inter-breed at this year’s Leyburn Show. The buyer was Jack De’Cova, from Stowupland in Suffolk, who was establishing his foundation flock

Mr Oliver, who hails from where the renowned breed was first established back in the 1880s, also stood female and overall reserve champion with his first prize ewe lamb by Providence Samson, acquired from Mark Elliott’s Providence flock at Ferrensby, near Knaresborough. Out of another Princethorpe Carlsberg-sired Carperby Pastures dam, it sold for 300gns to Jennifer Hunter in Carlisle.

It was Mr Elliott who clinched the 2019 Skipton championship with his first prize shearling ram and male champion, Providence Hullabaloo, though this one failed to meet its reserve price and returned home.

Second top call of 400gns twice fell to a brace of gimmer shearlings from the Prescotts themselves. One, a home-bred by Nosterfield Blue Boy, also fell to Mr De’Cova, with the second, a Wensleydale Black shearling ewe by West End Starling joining Welsh breeder Joshua Page in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire.

The first prize shearling ewe came from Mary Smith’s Brimham flock, originally based in Summerbridge, before she moved to her current home north of the border in Ayr in 2012 with husband Mark and son, Dan. By Providence Peter, bought from the Elliotts as a shearling in 2014, out a Hilary Menzies Leaston dam, the class victor sold for 300gns to NS Ponting, another new member from Stanford in the Vale in Berkshire.

The remaining show class for aged ewes resulted in a clean sweep of the prizes for 2017-born entries from North Yorkshire breeder Christine Haslam, who runs the Elmfield flock in Arrathorne, Bedale. Both the winner and runner-up were home-bred by Nosterfield Survivor, the third from Carperby Pastures. Two of the trio sold at 160gns.

Shearling ewes saw a particularly good trade, with plenty of bidders for all grades and a strong overall average of £271 per head. Ewe lambs did even better, averaging £278.

Ram lambs averaged £315, a hefty rise on the 2018 average of £118, while the shearling rams averaged £234.50.