Clitheroe's Fox Farms claim championship

Peter Fox (centre) with his Skipton prime lamb champions, joined by judge and buyer, William Rathmell (right) and the marts Andrew Fisher. Photo by Moule Media, Skipton.
Peter Fox (centre) with his Skipton prime lamb champions, joined by judge and buyer, William Rathmell (right) and the marts Andrew Fisher. Photo by Moule Media, Skipton.
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A farmer from Clitheroe claimed the championship at this month’s Skipton prime lambs show.

Peter Fox, of Fox Farms in Clitheroe, was crowned champion with a pen of five home-bred 40kg Texel/Beltex-crosses, by bought-in rams from both Cumbria and Wales. They sold at £107 each, or 267.5p/kg, to the show judge, retail butcher William Rathmell, manager of Brayton Farm Shop in Selby, where they will go on sale.

The May prime lamb champions, husband and wife, David and Laura Coar, of Darwen, returned to claim the reserve championship with their second prize Continental pen, five home-bred 41kg Beltex-cross sold for £101 each to Andrew Atkinson, buying on behalf of wholesale butchers Hartshead Meat Co. in Mossley, Greater Manchester.

The Coars also sold a second five-strong 45kg pen at £109 each to L. Wood & Sons Butchers, of Scammonden, Huddersfield, plus a single Beltex lamb at £124, top gross price of the day, to the same buyers.

Top call per kilo of 271.8p/kg fell to a five-strong Texel pen from FM Shepherd & Son in Pateley Bridge, again claimed by Mr Atkinson for Hartshead Meat Co.

Back in the show, the third prize Continental-cross pen, 45kg Beltex from Rob Marshall, of Summerbridge, sold at £118 each to Darley’s Nick Dalby, while two further Texel pens from John Turner, of Draughton, both made the same money. They fell to Kendalls Farm Butchers in Pateley Bridge and Harrogate, and Skipton-based Keelham Farm Shop.

Four vendors – Michael and James Spensley, of Elslack, David Hall, of Coniston Cold, John Nutter, of Hurst Green, and Tim Robinson, of Longridge – all sold lambs at £116 per head. Three pens fell to Skipton-based Swaledale Foods, among them the second prize 52kg Suffolk-crosses from the Nutter family, the fourth to Kendalls Farm Butchers.

The first prize 47kg Suffolk-cross pen, again from the Spensleys, made £112 and the 44kg third prize winners from Steeton’s Mark Evans £99. Both fell to Andrew Atkinson.

Prime hoggs, 311 in total, were a good trade for anything well fleshed, with J. Barrett, of Barnoldswick, selling four three-figure pens to a day’s top of £109 per head, closely followed at £108 by another pen from R.H. Lofthouse, of Addingham, and one at £102 from P. Hargreaves, of Barrowford. Hoggs averaged £76.59 per head, or 156.59p/kg.

Of the cast sheep, cull ewes topped at £101 per head for Texels from S&NV Jowett, of Queensbury, while horned ewes were the trade of the day, with hill-breds averaging £56.36 and lowland ewes £71.47, producing an overall section average of £66.24. Cast rams averaged £81.25.

The weekly sale of 158 breeding sheep was mainly made up of hoggs with lambs at foot, the best of the Mule outfits making £170-plus and topping at £180 for entries with twin lambs from Dick Burley, of Wath. A run of older Cheviot ewes with lambs from Alan Horn, of Winterburn, saw those with twins sell to £155 and singles to £120. John Wilson, from Settle, produced a nice run of Texel ewes with Beltex lambs, seeing 3 crop with twins sell to £218.