A NEW centre record breed price of 4,000gns (£4,200) was recorded at Skipton Auction Mart’s annual show and sale of Bluefaced Leicester rams and females on October 1.

It fell to a shearling ram from local husband and wife breeders, Joe and Nancy Throup, who run the Chelker pedigree flock at Berwick Intake Farm, Draughton. Their top price performer by far is by J1 Asby Hall, bred in Cumbria by KA Brown & Sons, of Great Asby, whose own sire was G1 Smearsett, from the North Craven-based Booth family flock in Feizor, above Settle.

The dam was got by D1 Tympany Gill, like the price leader’s sire also bred in the same part of Cumbria by Swathburn’s Geoff Taylor and family and whose own dam was the Smearsett E41 ewe, by W2 Lunesdale, a £17,000 acquisition by the Booth family from Carnforth breeder Gordon Rawsthorn,

The Throup ram had earlier stood runner-up in its class at the Skipton branch North of England Mule Sheep Association progeny show in August and was also responsible for three in the family’s fourth prize pen of gimmer lambs at last month’s high profile opening annual NEMSA gimmer lamb show and sale.

The top price achiever created keen interest at a packed ringside and, with Smearsett breeding ingrained, it returned to the Booth family flock, run by father and son, David and Robin, at Old Hall Cottage. The ram will have a dual purpose role, being used on their multi award-winning pedigree Bluefaced Leicester and Swaledale flocks, the latter to produce the all-purpose North of England Mule.

It was the highest price ever achieved by the Throups for a Bluefaced Leicester, who also sold a second shearling ram by K6 Hewgill, from the Cumbrian-based Lord family, at 1,200gns to David Plews, of Kettlewell, and for good measure sent out the third prize shearling ram, again by K6 Hewgill, which made 450gns.

The Throups have been breeding Leicesters for almost three decades, currently have 17 ewes on the ground and are themselves Mule sheep aficionados, producing 345 ewe lambs this year, most sold through their local mart.

In fact, the fixture attracted breeders from a wide area, many seeking stock from vendors responsible for quality runs of Mule ewe lambs at the Skipton NEMSA sales. It was staged in a new format this year as a standalone twilight show and sale, having previously formed part of the same month’s annual multi-breeds sheep showcase.

The decision paid off, as no less than 14 sheep achieved four-figure bids, among them at second top call of 2,100gns for the supreme champion, the first prize ewe lamb and female champion from the Kirkby Redgate flock of WM Hutchinson & Sons, run by husband and wife, Richard and Catherine Hutchinson, and Richard’s parents, Malcolm and Jean, at Redgate Farm, Rookby, Kirkby Stephen.

By the £18,000 K8 Shafthill, from Northumberland breeder John Smith-Jackson’s flock in Haltwhistle, out of a dam by H16 Hewgill, the title winner sold locally to brothers Edward and John Parkinson in Dunsop Bridge.

The Hutchinsons, who were making an extremely successful debut at the Skipton breed highlight, were also responsible for the first prize ram lamb, another well-bred son of K8 Shafthill, who has sold pedigree tups to 6,500gns and 5,000gns and bred some top-notch Mules.

Also an eye-catcher at 1,500gns was another shearling ram from Silsden Moor’s Jeff and Judith Throup. By L9 Ilkley Moor, bred by near neighbours Ellis Bros on Addingham Moorside.

Two further shearling rams from well-known local breeders sold away well at 1,200gns. First up was a son of K7 Smearsett from the Embsay-based Oddacress flock of John and Claire Mason, which fell to A Newbould & Son, of Dallowgill.

Making the same price was a ram from NEMSA national chairman Kevin Wilson, who runs the Hewness flock with his wife Daphne and son, James, at Blubberhouses.

Both the Masons and the Wilsons also had 1,000gns shearling ram sales.

Achieving a brace of four-figure sales was the Kitching family, from Grisedale Farm, Threshfield. Brothers Richard and Charles were also responsible for the first prize aged ram and reserve show champion.

The fixture attracted a robust turnout of 222 head and produced the following section averages: Ewe lambs £1,207, aged rams £451, shearling rams £521, ram lambs £447, shearling ewes £157.

The show classes were judged by Chris Pye, who runs the Emmetts BFL flock in Dunkenshaw, Lancaster.