THE annual ‘Craven Continentals’ early season breeding sheep highlight at Skipton Auction Mart may have lacked the usual show classes, but it was again well supported by many of last year’s principals and other regulars, attracting a solid entry of 543 head. (Friday, Aug 21)

Among them were 71 rams and this part of the sale continues to grow in stature year on year, offering a good selection of tups for commercial use, with the better end making from £300 to a top call of £520.

This was for a Texel shearling ram from Ann Robinson’s commercial flock at Woodcock Hill Farm, Pannal, Harrogate, who won the Continental rams show class and claimed top price in sale last year, repeating the feat when her latest frontrunner sold to mart regulars Ashley and Rachael Caton in Otterburn

Charles Marwood, from Whenby, near York, sold a brace of shearling rams, claiming £450 with a Beltex and £330 with a Charollais. Two vendors who each made £380 with Suffolk shearling rams were Steeton’s Mark Evans and G Biddulph, from Macclefield.

The ladies were in the usual ascendancy in terms of numbers, with ewes and shearlings once again selling to a very fast trade. Both Suffolk and Continental ewes achieved strong prices.

North of England Mules of all classes found a very ready following, selling to a section high of £162 for a pen of eight shearlings from David Plews, of Kettlewell, with a breed average of £145, the best of the day.

Second top call of £144 fell to Suffolk shearlings from John Turner in Draughton. Other breed highs and averages were as follows: Shearlings - Texel to £135 (av £127), Cheviot to £125; 2 crop – Mule to £132 (£130), Suffolk to £130; 3 crop – Mule to £118 (£115), Suffolk to £115; 4 crop – Suffolk to £120 (£109), Texel to £112 (£104), Mule to £102 (£96); broken mouthed Mules to £78.

Skipton’s big opening annual sale of gimmer shearlings was staged on Tuesday and included British Wool Marketing Board-sponsored prize shows for North of England Mules, Masham and Continental-x, followed yesterday by the fortnightly store lambs sale with further prize shows sponsored by Top Tags Animal ID for Beltex, Down-x and Mule lambs. Safe-distancing judging took place in pens. Full reports will appear both online and in next week’s Herald.