Blackface breed records were smashed at Dalmally on Saturday. Ian Hunter, of Dalchirla, Muthill, Crieff, Perthshire, broke both of his existing breed and centre bests as he sold a shearling at £90,000.
His previous best at Dalmally was £76,000 for a shearling in 2002. He had also held since 1997 the breed’s all-time high of £85,000 for a ram lamb he bought at Lanark.
He was again the biggest single consignor, with 51 shearlings forward from his much sought-after 1,100-ewe Dalchirla flock. His average was £2889.22. The shearlings and ram lambs from Mr Hunter grossed just short of £190,000.
Mr Hunter told United Auctions’ auctioneer George Purves the shearling – his second in the ring and by a home-bred son of a £28,000 Midlock and out of a ewe by Dalchirla Kingsmill – was the best ram he had ever bred.
The ringside agreed and so began a frenetic round of bidding in which the eventual victors were a three-strong consortium involving Alasdair Macarthur, of Nunnerie, Elvanfoot, and Allan Wight, of Midlock, Crawford, both Biggar, and Mary McCall Smith, of Connachan, Crieff.
A stoney silence greeted each call. A round of applause was triggered as the gavel fell.
Dalchirla also sold £6000 from Billy McFarlane, of Drumgrange, Patna, and D Morrison, of Dalwyne, Barr, Girvan, for a shearling by a home-bred son of a £14,000 Elmscleugh and out of a ewe by The Fox.
There then followed for Dalchirla a deal at £4,000 for a son of Dalchirla McKay and a out of ewe by the Fox from R Dixon, of Cowburn, Lockerbie.
Ms McCall Smith’s entry topped at £21,000. Paying that for a shearling by an £800 Finglen and out of a ewe by a son of a £12,000 Midlock were Charlie Phillips, of 12 Cavanreagh Road, Draperstown, and Graham Loughry, of 21 Temain Road, Limavady.
Ewen MacMillan, of Lurg, Fintray, Glasgow, and Messrs McArthur, of Arnicle, Glenbarr, Tarbert, shared at £6000 from Connachan a shearling son of HD and a ewe by a £3000 Boldarroch.
Connachan sold at £5000 a shearling, by Jings and out of a ewe by Junior, to John McCalmont, of Glenarm, Co Antrim.
Hugh and Alan Blackwood, of Auldhouseburn, Cumnock, had the first shearling in the ring and set the pace of the trade, receiving £5500 for a son of an £8000 Dyke and out of a ewe by a £17,000 Netherwood. McLaren and Wood, of West Bracklinn, Callander, were the buyers.
David Jackson, of The Pole, Lochgoilhead, sold five shearlings in excess of £3500.
Best at £5500 – paid by Donald MacVicar, of Lephinchapel, Strachlachlan, Strachur – was a son of a £1,700 Allanfauld and a ewe by a £2000 Gartel.
Brothers Willie and Ewan Bennie, of Merkins, Alexandria, then paid £5000 to Pole for a son of a £24,000 Dalchirla and out of a ewe by a home-bred sire.
Jimmy MacGregor, of Dyke, Milton of Campsie, and Archie MacGregor, of Allanfauld, Kilsyth, shared another from Pole at £4500. It was by a £10,000 Elmscleugh and out of a ewe by a £28,000 Midlock.
Another making £4500 from Pole was a son of a £24,000 Dalchirla and a ewe by a £2,000 Dyke. He was bought by Billy Renwick, of Craigdouglas, Yarrow, near Selkirk.
James Duncan Millar, of Remony, Aberfeldy, then bid Pole to £3500 for a shearling by a £750 Midlock and out of a ewe by a £2000 Dyke.
Allan Wight received £4000 from Tom Nelson, of Glengorm Estate, Mull, for a son of a £1000 Blackhouse and a ewe by a £22,000 Dalchirla. Mr Wight collected £3800 from the Ronald family, of Keilator, Crianlarich, for a son of a Big Al and a ewe by a £40,000 Nunnerie.
The MacGregors of Dyke were bid to £3500 for a son of a £32,000 Auchloy and a ewe by a £40,000 Nunnerie. He was shared by Billy Renwick and John Campbell and sons, Ian and Colin, of Glenrath, Peebles.
The was another £3500 call made for a three-shear home-bred ram from the Taylors, of Dall, which sold to Castles Estate, Hursley, Standon, Winchester.
A Travis-sired shearling that was out of a ewe by High Spec from Dyke made £3200 to the Carruthers, of Silloans, Rochester, Northumberland.
Dalchirla topped the ram lamb trade too. Mr Hunter sold at £13,000 to W Graham, of Craigdarroch, Sanquhar, Dumfries, and Chirmorrie Farms, of Barrhill, Girvana a son of The Bolt, by a £28,000 Midlock, and a ewe by Kingsmill sire.
Mr Hunter then accepted £7500 for a another son of The Bolt and a Kingsmill ewe. Buyer this time was McInnes, of Greystoneknowe, Kilmnaroch.
Also going at £4500 from Dalchirla was a son of the £44,000 Connachan Highland Storm and a ewe by a Kingsmill. He is headed to Northern Ireland to join the flock of Brendan McAllister, of Glenarm, and who last set a new Northern Ireland record of 25,000gn for a Blackie.
The last of the ram lambs in the big money from Dalchirla was at £3500 for another by The Bolt. Shaw, of Innisaig, Ardfairn, Lochgiphead, bought him.
The Blackwoods secured £6000 for their best ram lamb, by a £12,000 Drumgrange and out of a ewe by a £49,000 Glenrath, from Messrs Burnett, of Rhynaclach, Menteith, Kippen, Stirling.
Doubling up to pay £6000 were John and Charlie Harkin, of Loughash, Co Tyrone, and Alasdair Macarthur, of Nunnerie. They bought a son of a £22,000 Nunnerie and a ewe by a £10,000 Elmscleugh, from Willie Dunlop and sons, Quintin and William, of Elmscleugh, Innerwick, Dunbar.
Billy McFarlane, of Drumgrange, Patna, sold at £6000 too a son of a £40,000 Dyke and out a ewe by a £4500 Midlock. The Dunlops and David Jackson, of the Pole, split him.
Elmscleugh received £5000 from Allan Wight at Midlock and Mr Macarthur for a son of a £20,000 Midlock and a ewe by £1,100 Dyke
New breeder Fraser Thomson sold at £4500 a son of a £1000 Dalchirla and a ewe that goes back to a £34,000 Dalchirla King Commander. Mr Thomson has 100 ewes at Kellas, Broughty Ferry, Dundee. The Dunlop family were the buyers.
Overall, the average for 572 shearlings was £774, up £42 on last year when 570 were traded. The 195 ram lambs sold to average £830, well up on the £624 achieved for 172 in 2009.