Even in these times of complete unpredictability no one could ever have imagined that this year’s premier UK sale of Texel sheep at Lanark would have seen breeders buying rams in the early hours of the morning with a police cordon around the market.
But that was how the Texel Sheep Society was forced to cope with last week’s sale where, despite the unreal circumstances, bidding reached a top price of 40,000gns.
Auctioneer Brian Ross was almost understated in his comments, describing the day as “totally unreal”. It was a day that saw Texel rams gather at Lanark for the breed’s main autumn fixture –albeit almost a month late – and as well as being plunged into the implications of Wednesday morning’s foot-and-mouth movement clampdown, had to cope with the added panic caused by a vet’s suspicion that a shearling ewe was showing mouth lesions.
The ewe, finally given a clear bill of health after hours of uncertainty, then left breeders and auctioneers waiting for DEFRA’s instructions on what was to happen next. Finally the sale was allowed to proceed and trading began at 7.00pm on Wednesday evening with the gavel falling on the final lot at just after 1.20am on Thursday.
“Not the sort of day you ever want to experience again. Very traumatic for everyone involved but at least we eventually got sheep in the ring and there were buyers there until the end,” said Brian Ross.
For part of the day there was a “lock-in” imposed on the market as police sealed the building, but fortunately potential buyers were already on the premises inspecting stock prior to the sale.
Trade was remarkably strong for the best tups considering the circumstances and eventually bidding went into top gear off for the ram lamb from Jim Clark’s pen that had caught everyone’s eye.
Garngour Nirvana, a powerful son of Hexel Lexus, with superior carcass shape, skin and character, was one of two big money entries from the Clark family’s flock at Lesmahagow. Nirvana (ARR/ARH) is out a dam by the good producer Clynnog Joe Tex. He heads for Malcolm Reid’s flock at Kelso for 40,000gns.
Buyers had already demonstrated that the bizarre circumstances of the sale were not going to undermine the occasion when a 28,000gns bid came relatively early on in the ram lamb section. Making the call were Cheshire’s Boden and Davis and it bought them Kelso breeder Bruce Renwick’s Castlecairn Nile God. This son of the 12,000gns shared-sire Humeston Midas is out of a Baltier Cracker ewe.
Two of Scotland’s veteran sheep men – Sandy Lee (Fordafourie) and Albert Howie (Knock) – joined forces to broaden the smile on Jim Clark’s face with a 16,000gns call for Garngour Nobleman. Also by the Hexel sire, he is out of a Fordafourie sired ewe.
Aberdeenshire’s Jim Innes and Sons collected the championship with the Milnbank Lyon King son Strathbogie Nixon II. He made 11,000gns to Allan Cullen with the Innes family retaining a 25% share.
Three breeders split the 11,000gns investment in Muiresk Northern Dancer from Colin Mair and Partners, Turriff, Aberdeen. Out of a ewe bred by the influential sire Craighead Hercules and sired by the 14,000gns Cowal Maverick, he will work in the flocks of Campbell Bros (Lochgoilhead), A Chisholm (Black Isle) and David Mackerrow (Fife).
There were two 9000gns deals. Baltier Nijinski from Robert Forsyth and Sons, Wigtownshire – a Douganhill Jeronimo son – was jointly bought by Jim Innes and Margaret Lyon (Turriff).
Willie Knox (Haddo) and Colin Mair and Partners shared Lancashire breeder Dr S Symes’ Angelzarke Nimrod who was by the 30,000gns Castleknowe Matchmaker.