NEMSA national chairman Kevin Wilson consigned the champion pen of 10 at the second annual gimmer lamb show and sale for members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA).

The sale at Skipton Auction Mart proved to be yet another closely-fought contest with a healthy number of vendors making the bidding.

The showcase also saw the Kitching family, of Threshfield, claim victory with their 20 pen, making it three wins in the past four years at the well-attended shows.

Mr Wilson, who farms with his wife Daphne and son, James, at Hewness House Farm, Blubberhouses, saw his pen sell for £145 per head to Kevin Marshall, of Darley.

The pen were all by their renowned F1 Bighead, which is shared in partnership with the Wilsons’ Richmondshire breeder, Marrick’s Alan Busby, and F1’s sons, apart from one, by a Highberries ram.

Judges James Towler, of Grindleton, and Thomas Binns, of Hecklin Farm, Downham, found it tough to choose between the Wilsons’ and the second placed pen, put forward by the Kitching family, from Grisedale Farm, Threshfield.

Their pen of 10 was from a mix of H8 Smearsett, H16 Riddings and H56 Midlock and their sons, with one from a High Crosshill Farm ram.

The pen also went on to sell for £145 per head, to J&H Tustian, of Banbury.

Mr Wilson said: “It’s been a very strong show with a good number of entries and it was quite close.”

The Kitchings also took the championship in the 20s show, a class they have now won three times in four years at this fixture.

Their pen, from a similar breeding stock to their tens, sold for £148 per head to Geoff Booth, of Lothersdale.

Third place also went to the Kitchings and sold for £125.

Otley’s Francis and James Caton took second place in the 20s show with a pen bred from J10 Weston, L1 Low Tipalt and K7 Weston.

These sold for £132 per head to TA Harrison, of Cowling.

The Catons’ fourth-placed pen sold for £118.

Top price of the day went to JM&S Tennant, of Bordley.

His pen of 10, judged fifth in the show, sold for £150 per head to New York Farms, of Silsden Moor.

In the tens, KA & HL Fawcett, of Barden, came third in the show and sold for £140 per head.

FA Caton was again in the rankings with a fourth place, selling again for £140.

Sixth place went to Stephen and Tracey Fawcett, of Drebley, who sold for £135.

Back in the 20s show, Mr Wilson took fifth place, selling for £105, and JR Lancaster, of Bordley Hall, Hetton, was sixth with a pen which sold for £108.

Craven Cattle Marts again presented special prizes for the highest flock averages.

Of those consigning 100 or more lambs, the Catons did best with 203, averaging £92.10, followed by the Tennants, with 123 at £89.22, and the Kitchings, with 338, averaging £88.15.

Heading the averages for consignees of less than 100 lambs were Allan and Sue Throup, of Silsden Moor, with 25 at £99.20, followed by Janet and James Huck, of Austwick, with 51, averaging £93.61, and KA&HL Fawcett with 82 averaging £88.31.

CCM Auctions’ livestock sales manager Ted Ogden noted: “A tidy entry of 6,470 lambs sold away nicely on the year whilst still being sensibly priced for all concerned.

“The show pens were again £100 to £150, whilst the commercial lambs which would take the tup later in the season were in the £80s and £90s. Better runners ranged from late 60s to £80, with a few smart pens of runners a shade more, whilst a commercial runner was in the £60s, and only two pens of lambs saw under £60 all day.”

The overall average was £77.23 per head, up £5.51 on the corresponding sale in 2018.

The J Marsden Perpetual Trophy was awarded to the winners of the 10s show class.

The WCF Perpetual Trophy was presented to the victorious 20s, which was judged by D Hawley and D Kettringham.

The prize show was sponsored by Carrs Billington, Armstrong Watson Accountants & Financial Advisors, Barclays Bank and NFU Mutual.

Skipton’s third annual open seasonal show and sale of North of England Mule gimmer lambs takes place on Tuesday, October 8 which also features annual shows and sales for Dales Mule, Swaledale and Masham gimmer lambs, the last again on behalf of Masham Sheep Breeders Association.