SKIPTON mart’s annual show and sale of gimmer shearlings – one of the largest in the North of England – saw local victories in the Masham and Mule classes.

Altogether 4,083 head of shearling gimmers sold to an overall average of £142.52 per head – up £1.97 on last year’s event.

The Mashams saw breed stalwart Margaret Watkinson of Sessay, Thirsk, repeat her 2012 first prize success, selling her pen of ten for a class-topping £155 per head to Edgar Moore, of Settle.

Colin Willoughby of Redmire, showed the second prize pen of Masham shearlings on behalf of B Orkney, Carperby. They sold for £151 apiece to Norman and Jackie Binns, Oakworth. The third prize pen from WD Dowthwaite & Partners, Kirkby Overblow, made £150 per head when selling locally to Norman and Jeanette Marshall of Niffany.

The Masham shearling gimmers enjoyed a good trade with the 45 entries averaging £138.67 per head – up £12.71 on 2012.

The winning pen of ten Mule shearlings shown by James and William Hall of Darnbrook, Littondale, sold to Threshfield’s Angus Dean for £205 per head.

The brothers won the title in 2011 and were second last year.

There was keen interest in NEMSA-tagged consignments from regular vendors.

The Halls consignment of 350 Mules also presented the third prize pen, knocked down at £188 each to George and David Whitwell, Austwick. They sold six further pens, including four at £178 per head.

The second prize Mule pen from Raymond and Robert Johnson, Felliscliffe, joined Geoff Booth, Lothersdale, for £195 each.

The top-priced pen of Mules at £210 per head were presented by Coniston Cold’s David Coates and sold to Claire O’Neill, a new sheep breeder from Silsden. Mr Coates sold six further pens from £162 to £202 per head.

Continental shearlings sold to a highly selective audience, with noticeably more interest in firstcross Mules. The overall selling average of the 602 Texel shearlings was £135.71 per head, down £5.92 on the year.

Henry Harvey & Son, of Waxham, Norfolk, presented 330 Texel-cross sheep, with their two show pens taking first and second in class. Each sold for £175 per head – the winners to Malcolm Campbell, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, and the others to CT&EM Hammond, Summerbridge.

The Harveys are increasing their Mule sheep numbers by selecting Blue Faced Leicester rams and putting them to Swaledale ewes.

Thirty Suffolk shearlings were also offered for sale, with Hartwith’s Nick Dalby selling pens at £122 and £110 per head.

The overall average of £116 per head was down £5.74 on 2012.