29 September 2000

Lleyn numbers double in heart of Mule country

By Jeremy Hunt

LLEYN sheep, one of the livestock sectors success stories in recent years, continued to weave their spell in the heart of Mule country when almost 5000 were offered at the breed societys Carlisle show and sale last week.

The entry, believed to be a record for any Lleyn sale, saw twice as many shearling gimmers penned – just over 1300 – compared with this event last year. A total of 1126 shearlings were sold to average £57.24.

"Even though thats £1.39 down on the year its still an excellent result when you consider we had double the number to sell," said auctioneer David Dickinson.

A big crowd stayed around the ring for most of the eight hour sale although some of the late offerings of non-accredited sheep fell short of buyers requirements.

A tremendous run of shearling gimmers from Denton Park Estate, Ilkley, West Yorks, collected some of the sales richest pickings including the overall top female price of £122 apiece for a pen of five bought by AE Reaney and Sons, Co Tyrone.

George Bush, the estates farm manager who runs 1500 ewes, has been one of the north of Englands staunchest Lleyn supporters after first seeing the breed while on holiday in Wales many years ago.

Denton Park Estate entered 30 shearling gimmers. Messrs Reaney paid £105 and £100/head for two more pens. Another pen made £100 to Slaidburn, Lancs farmer M Handley.

Edenhall Estates, Penrith, took the reserve female championship with a pen of five shearling gimmers that realised £120 apiece to T Rees, Llandeilo. A pen of shearling gimmers from A Wynne Davies, Pwllheli collected the overall female title. They made £102 to A Robinson, Co Antrim.

The traditionally strong demand for older ewes at this venue, a reflection of the Lleyns longevity, saw 603 ewes – from two to five-year-olds – average £44.49 and reach £70 for a pen of four-year-olds from Mr Wynne Davies. Buyer was J Redpath, Morpeth.

Penrith breeder John Morton led the ewe lamb section selling a striking pen at £112 a head to RW and MR Sowerby, Penrith.

And it was a 1300gns from Mr Morton that topped the ram trade when he claimed a smart shearling from Mr Wynne Davies. "He wasnt in the tickets in the show class but for me he stands four-square, has great presence, good shape and plenty of hindquarter," said Mr Morton.

Keen competition for mature sires boosted the shearling average by almost £140. Leading ram prices included 1100gns for a shearling from North Yorks vendor CP Sackville Hamilton (to W and N Lawrence, Aberdeen) and an equal bid for one from DN Bennett and Son, Meifod, Powys (to Denton Park Estates).

The strong class of shearling rams took some sorting out by judge Teifion Rees of Carmarthenshire. His winner and overall male champion was a powerful shearling from Edenhall Estates. It realised 900gns to AG and AS Clarke, Carnforth, Lancs.

The reserve ram ticket went to HL Nelless, Morpeth. Buyer at 900gns was G Blakeley, Morpeth.

Averages: 603 ewes £44.49; 1126 shearling gimmers £57.24; 2279 ewe lambs £38.76 (Harrison and Hetherington). &#42

Edenhall Estates 900gns shearling ram was a winner.