Mule ewe lambs sold to an exceptional trade at the first sale of the season at Skipton, with the 6235 lambs sold averaging £120.51, a rise of £29 on last year and a total of £49 up on the sale in 2009.

Prices peaked at £245/head for the second prize pen of 10 lambs from Ashley and Rachel Caton, Otterburn. With these selling to Joe Jackson, Lancashire.

Other leading prices included sales at £222 for the champion pen of 10 lambs on the day, a pen from Geoff Walker, Brennand Farm, Dunsop Bridge. These sold to Martin and Val Brown, of Beechwood House Farm, Newton-le-Willows, Bedale.

Topping the pens of 20 was a pen from the Catons which sold at £185/head having been the champion pen in the section, these sold to Clare Morris, Barnard Castle.

A total of 26 pens sold at £150 each or more. General trade for tupping lambs was £130 to £150, medium lambs £120 to £130 and running lambs £108 to £120.

Just six pens of lambs sold for under £100 a head throughout the entire day, though Skipton Auction Mart’s livestock sales manager and auctioneer Ted Ogden pointed out: “Buyers were able to source sheep to fit their budgets, with many of the high priced pens remaining in the local area, reflected by all livestock being loaded and away from the mart by 5.30pm.”

Skipton branch NEMSA chairman Jeff Throup, of Silsden Moor, said: “Selling prices were above and beyond what we expected as breeders. We were highly delighted. I have never seen a show with so much quality right down the line and I can’t recall seeing the Skipton ringside so busy since our inaugural sale at the new mart in 1990.

Leading flock averages;

100 lambs or more – AV Caton, Otterburn, 141 lambs at an average  £141.72, WA&A Booth, Feizor, 140 av £135.56, KA&HL Fawcett & Son, Barden, 114 av £134.25, AJ Mason, Embsay, 203 av £128.77, JA Throup, Silsden Moor, 103 av £128.08, KM&L Throup, Silsden Moor, 277 av £127.44.

Under 100 lambs – I&M Lancaster, Pendleton, 20 av £158.50, JC&N Throup, Draughton, 72 av £136.22, JC Walker & Son, Dunsop Bridge, 80 av £132.88, R Berry, Cowling, 49 av £129.25, N Heseltine, Malhamdale, 42 av £129.24, ASE Crisp & Son, Calton, 80 av £128.45.