RICHARD Close, of Calf Hall Farm, Starbotton, was champion at the annual Dalesbred Sheep Breeders’ Association’s sale of shearling and aged rams and females, at Skipton mart.

His first-prize shearling ram was by a home-bred tup and was selected by co-judges John Carr, 26, of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, and Rachel Brown, 18, from Kirkby Malham, who later bought the winner for 150gns.

Mr Close was presented with the Royston Baxter Trophy, awarded annually by the former Skipton Auction Mart foreman.

The Close family was also responsible for the day’s top price of 300gns with a second shearling out of a ewe got by a Dawson tup. There was spirited bidding before finding a new home with V Verity and Son, Summerbridge.

Association chairman, David Wilson, who farms about 1,000 Dalesbreds with his father Michael at Crimple Head Farm, Beckwithshaw, was reserve champion with a second-prize shearling ram by a home-bred four-shear tup. He sold for 200gns to Alan Fothergill, of Silsden Moor.

The third-prize shearling ram from Kevin Wilson, of Blubberhouses, made 80gns when joining MJ Holmes, of Burnley.

Pedigree shearling tups sold to an overall average of £102.14 per head (2016 £101.89), with six aged rams averaging £89.25 (£94.50).

Dalesbred draft ewes sold to £108 from the Coates brothers, of Stainforth.