Store lamb prices at the first sales of the year in northern Scotland have soared as buyers rewarded bt this srping’s strong prime trade have passed their earnings and crucially confidence back to hill farmers and crofters.

At Dingwall on Tuesday 3681 North Country Cheviot wethers sold to a top of £64 for a pen from Knockglass, Dornoch, while the entry averaged £50.82, a rise of £3.28 on the year. Ewe lambs of the same breed peaked at £72 for a single lamb, while the 1652 forward averaged £48.68, a lift of £2.92 on last year.

However, it was the Texel and Suffolk cross lambs which saw the greatest rise, with the 662 Texel crosses averaging £58.65, up £7.63 on the same sale last year. Top among these were pens from Brora, Knockglass and 145 Badnellan. In the Suffolks the average lifted by a massive £10.50 to level at £59.65 for 274 lambs sold.

The auctioneers report that all lambs met an extremely satisfactory sale with stronger, fitter lambs showing the bigger increase.

Overall average for the 6438 store lambs forward at Dingwall was £51.61, up by £4.39 on the year, while at Quoybrae on Monday the 1091 NCC wether lambs sold to average £49.28, up by £6.63 on last year’s sale and NCC ewe lambs levelled at £50.89 for 412 sold. Crossbred lambs at the same centre sold to average £59.98, up by £8.95 on last year.