Andrew Fisher, of Well House Farm, Low Laithe, Harrogate, stepped up with the champion for the second consecutive year at the 126th annual Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders Association show and sale at Skipton Auction Mart. (Sat, Sept 2)
The fifth-season Wensleydale sheep breeder, who runs the Nidderdale flock, which was also responsible for the 2014 Skipton champion, again clinched the title with his first prize shearling ram and male champion, like his 2016 victor by Maesafon Tornado, acquired three years ago from Welsh breeders Jim and Sandra Thompson.
Out of a Thistle dam bred by Knaresborough’s Yvonne Mudd, a breed stalwart who sadly passed away last month, the 2017 Skipton champion had excelled in the regional show arena all summer, winning multiple prizes. However, he returned home with Mr Fisher after failing to meet expectations in the sale ring.
Overall reserve champion was the first prize ewe lamb and female champion from Nick Oliver’s Carperby Pastures flock near Leyburn. One of 2017-born twins by Princethrope Carlsberg, out of a home-bred ewe by Endrigs Celebration, the runner-up, shown by Mr Oliver’s 17-year-old daughter Sophie, made joint top price in show of 420gns when falling to D Leonard, of Bramley, Leeds.
The same price was equalled by a Black Wensleydale shearling ram from Colchester Zoo’s Wassicks flock, which is based at Haughley Green, near Stowmarket in Suffolk and run by keeper Nicky Upshaw.
The farm, which also grows hay for zoo animals, including elephants, and keeps reindeer over the summer months, was first introduced to Blacks by long-standing Wensleydale breeder and WLSBA committee member Sue Holdich, of neighbouring Bacton.
Their 2016-born triplet, by Wassicks Midnight Marley, out of a Mill House dam, joined Neil Heseltine, of Malham, who is chairman of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA).
Reserve male champion was the first prize aged ram from Mark Elliott, of Providence Farm, Ferrensby, near Knaresborough, whose Providence flock has won multiple Skipton titles. His 2015-born son of Princethorpe High Hopes, out of a home-bred Leyburn Euro daughter, sold for 240gns to D Hamp, of Pewsey in Wiltshire.
Mr Elliott also paid 310gns for the top price white shearling ram from Laura Beaton, who runs the Hammerton flock in Green Hammerton, near York. Her 2016-born Carperby Pastures twin is by Millhouse Endeavour, out of a Widehope ewe sired by West End Gerard.
The reserve female championship fell to the first prize shearling ewe from Scottish breeder John McHardy’s Endrigs flock in Kilmany, Cupar, Fife. His 2016-born triplet by Princethorpe Harry’s Bar, out of a home-bred Princethorpe Knockout-sired dam made 170gns when joining J Pennell in Darlington.
Mr McHardy also headed the ram lamb prices at 150gns with a home-bred twin son of his own Endrigs Comet, again out of a Princethorpe Knockout-sired dam. This one joined well-known Wensleydale breeder Ernie Sherwin’s Nosterfield flock near Bedale.
The top price shearling ewe at 410gns was the second prize winner from Northumberland breeders John and Shelagh Prescott’s West End flock in Longhorsley, Morpeth. Their 2016-born triplet daughter of Maes Afon Minstrel, out of a Providence Pete-sired dam, also fell to D Leonard.
The first prize ram lamb came from another Scottish breeder and show regular, Mary Smith, who runs the Brimham flock at Carston Farm, Drongan in Ayrshire. By Providence Peter, out of a home-bred dam by West End Walter, the youngster became a further Ernie Sherwin acquisition at 110gns.
Shearlings ewes averaged £223, shearling rams £195 and ram lambs £158. Judge was Warwickshire’s Dr Lynn Clouder, from Princethorpe, near Stoneleigh, who praised the strong shearling show classes.
Photography by Adrian Legge Photography