THE pedigree Texel flock from Procters Farm took the three leading prices at Skipton Auction Mart’s first pedigree fixture of 2021, the 28th annual open winter sale of Texel females for members of Northern Area Texel Sheep Breeders.

With planned show classes cancelled, Jeff Aiken, flock manager at Procters Farm, based at Moss House Farm, Wennington, close to the Lancashire-Yorkshire border, hit the headlines when stepping up with a high price in-lamb shearling ewe hat-trick, leading the way at 3,200gns with a March, 2019, daughter of the highly-acclaimed Garngour Alabama son, Sportsmans Batman, a notable 100,000gns purchase last year.

Out of a Teiglum Younggun dam and a full sister to the Procters Farm 14,000gns sale topper at the January Gems sale in Ballymena the previous week, the Skipton top price performer, scanned carrying a single lamb to the Sportsmans Catapult son, Llyfni Droog, found a new home in Shropshire with Ben Lowe.

Taking second top call of 2,600gns for Procters Farm was another Batman daughter from the same family as the 46,000gns gimmer sold at last year’s Select 7 sale. Born in February, 2019, from a Strathbogie Ya Belter dam and again in-lamb to Llyfni Droog carrying twins, she travelled north of the border when joining David Morrison in Dalwyne, Ayrshire.

Completing the Procters Farm hat-trick at 1,700gns was a second March-born shearling ewe by the 12,000gns Fordafourie Balvennie, again out of a Teiglum Younggun dam. Scanned carrying twins to the Batman son, Procters Dingo Dollar, she found a new home in Wales with Dyfed Hedd Jones, of Pwllheli on Gwynedd’s Llŷn Peninsula. Five Procters Farm shearling ewes averaged £1,953.

Myfyr Evans, a regular Welsh visitor to Skipton with quality stock from his Rhaeadr flock at Llanrhaeadr in Denbighshire, again created a buzz with his consignment of four ewe lambs, which topped at 1,300gns for a February, 2020, daughter of Brackenridge Crown Royal, out of a Glenside Whiz Kid dam. The top price ewe lamb sold locally to Stephen Peel, who trades as H Johnson & S Peel in Harrogate.

Had the show classes not been postponed. Cumbria’s Peter Woof, who runs the Stainton flock at Storth End Farm near Kendal, would have been going for his fifth consecutive title win at the seasonal breed highlight.

As it was, his 2021 consignment saw another good following, peaking at 700gns for a Gyrhos Andy shearling, out of a Sportsmans Tremendous 11 dam and carrying a single lamb to Craig Douglas Dancer, himself a son of Sportsmans Cannon Ball. Stainton had others at 650gns and 600gns.

Averages for the 33 head sold showed a very strong rise on the year, with shearling gimmers averaging £718.84 (2020 £337) and ewe lambs £931.87 (2020 £439).

An excellent start to the pedigree year at Skipton was complemented by a brand-new fixture, the inaugural Blue Diamonds’ winter sale of 15 pedigree in-lamb Blue Texel females, which had created keen pre-sale interest and selling prices certainly backed up this optimism.

Mother and daughter, Elaine and Issy Hartley, from the Pendle flock in Roughlee, Nelson, were the headline performers with a brace of February-born ewe lambs that both made four figure prices.

First up and selling and 1,100gns was Pendle Emma, by Sams Cosmos, a winner of many male championships and part of the interbreed champion pairs and groups of three in 2019. Her dam is by Hackney Xcel, who has bred progeny to 2,000gns, and the top price performer sold to Stuart Wood of Skeen in Aberdeenshire for his son’s own flock.

The second sale of 1,000gns was for Pendle Ellin, whose sire, Millside, was acquired for his power and size. Out of an imported ewe, she joined Cumbrian buyers Andrew and Ivinson, of Ousby.

Mark Stephenson, who runs the Londesborough flock at Warter, near Pocklington, sold ewe lambs at 900gns and 700gns three times. His top price was for the February-born Londesborough Esmerelda, by Burnholm Dante out of an imported dam.

From the unaccredited section, local vendor Elsa McKechnie, who runs the Silver Birch flock in Wigglesworth, sold a home-bred shearling scanned carrying twins at 850gns, while a 2018-born in-lamb North Valley aged ewe from the same home made 650gns.

Solid averages of £641.66 for shearling gimmers and £700 for ewe lambs were achieved at the launch fixture, which is likely to become an annual event running alongside the NATB winter females highlight. This year both sales were complemented by a bolt-on online bidding facility.