The final day of the three-day bonanza for Swaledale breeders at Kirkby Stephen in Cumbria produced, as expected, the liveliest bidding with prices reaching £45,000 for a shearling tup from the Marwood family at Richmond, north Yorks.

He certainly shook-up the form books because in the run up to the sale he wasn’t the tup that many had expected would top the trade. Nevertheless he quickly reached his price and sold to three members of the Harker family – two from Cumbria and one from Yorkshire – as well as Richard Hargreaves from East Lancashire.

Although the average price was up nearly £350 for 526 sold there were 199 rams that failed to find buyers on the day – a trend that reflects big changes underway in the Swaledale sheep ranks. It’s a topic I’ll be covering in this week’s Taking Stock section on Friday.