THE October gimmer lamb highlight at Skipton Auction Mart - the third of the season - again saw much improved trade on the year when producing an overall selling average of £89.50 for the increased entry of 4,169 head, compared to 2019’s £65.90 for just over 4,000. In fact, averages were up across all classes. (Tues, Oct 6)

A quartet of prize shows for pens of ten, with safe distancing judging observed throughout, was again staged across all breeds, with Kevin Huck, of Knowle Bank Farm, Bordley, retaining the Craven Cattle Marts Trophy when once more presenting the first prize Swaledales, half of which were by a Matt Ridley Haltcliffe tup, others by rams from Raymond Calvert and John Bland and their respective Hoggarth and Crowden flocks.

The victors sold for £145 per head to Derbyshire show judge Graham Bright, who also claimed his second prize pen from John and Claire Mason at Oddacres, Embsay, at £140, a price matched by the third prize pen from Bordley’s John and Rose Tennant, which sold to Threshfield’s Angus Dean.

The section, which saw the usual high quality runs highly sought after, produced prices for the top pens very much on a par with last year, with the middle and later pens seeing the highest increases. The 747 Swaledales averaged £82.99 (+£32.36 on the year).

A total of 3,200 Mules were sold, including Dales Mules, and they levelled at a collective average of £90.77 per head, very much in line with expectations following the trading levels seen at Skipton’s opening two sales.

Dales Mules headed the prices at £130 for the second prize pen from the Close family in Starbotton, claimed by JG Hall & Son in Gargrave. The Closes also consigned the third prize pen, which made £105, with the first prize pen from the Wilson family in Blubberhouses, recipients of the Josephine Bartlett Memorial Trophy, making £125. The 141 Dales Mules averaged £94.61 (+£29.54).

The 2,106 Mule ewe lambs from members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) averaged £90.74 (+ £19.60), peaking at £126 for a pen from David White in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, sold to Felliscliffe father and son, Raymond and Robert Johnson.

Another three pens from regular vendors were close behind at £125, followed at £120 by the first prize show pen from father and son, Jack and David Wade, of Catchall Farm, Litton. Calton father and daughter, Robert and Ellie Crisp, stood both second and third, their pens selling at £107 and £103 respectively.

Best end Mule lambs made £100-plus, the smartest runners selling in the £90’s, commercial runners in the £80’s and just a handful of pens in the £70’s. A total of 953 non-NEMSA member lambs peaked at £110 for a pen from RG&H Preece in Roeburndal, averaging £90.25 (+£21.47).

Allan and Susan Throup, of Higher House Farm, Silsden Moor, were responsible for both the first and third prize Masham gimmer lambs in the Masham Sheep Breeders’ Association-sponsored show class. Recipients of the Kemp Spokes Trophy, the red rosette winners sold for a section-topping £130 each to Carleton’s Ross Greenwood.

The third prize pen made £115, while the runners-up from the Newbould family in Dallowgill made £105.Mashams sold well, with the best strong lambs able to achieve £100-plus, the turnout of 191 head averaging £92.18 (+£21.48). Of the remaining 23 head, Blue Texels sold to £165 and Beltex to £86.