Prize Show & Sale of Blackface & Swaledale Draft Ewes & Gimmers

Hill Ewes & Gimmers

Hexham & Northern Marts held their annual prize show and sale of hill ewes and gimmers and offered for sale a catalogue of 6268 head.

Prior to the sale three show classes were contested and three highly regarded judges within their own breeds made their awards as follows;

Blackface Draft Ewes – kindly judged by Stuart Charlton, Whiteside.

1st – Messrs Raine, Townfoot.

2nd – Messrs Walton, Troughend.

3rd – Messrs Walton, Toft House.

Swaledale Draft Ewes – kindly judged by Hugh Caldwell, Kilbarchen.

1st – Messrs Scott, Westburnhope.

2nd – Messrs Hall, The Raw.

3rd – Messrs Nelson. Low Bleakhope.

Blackface Gimmers – kindly judged by Ant Robinson, Falstone.

1st – Messrs Robson, Townshields.

2nd – Messrs Murray, Sewingshields.

3rd – Messrs Walton, Toft House.

The company wish to congratulate all prize winners and thank all that presented sheep for the judges’ consideration, of course without whom such an occasion could not take place. 

A tremendous show of quality was presented for sale which was a great credit to the Flock masters and Shepherds of the region and a huge crowd gathered on Tyne Green to vie for the highly regarded annual consignments of hill females from the Tyne, Rede, Coquet, Ingram, College, Irthing & Wear Valleys and further a-field.

Blackface draft ewes saw the hottest demand of the day peaking at a mighty £155 for the third prize pen from Messrs Walton, Toft House in the Rede Valley; expertly presented by Stewart Robson and purchased by Harry Morshead, Harsondale. Two further pens attained £150 per head, the first prize pen from Messrs Raine, Townfoot and also a super pen of ewes from Messrs Rock from their newly acquired Fleehope holding in the College Valley above Wooler.

A tremendous entry of ewes sold well throughout including a top quality offering of stock sheep from Robert Mackay; Billsmoor Park & Whitton that peaked at £135 and the entire draft class saw a lift of £32 per head ensuring all vendors went home happy.

The class of Swaledale draft ewes were next and these also took a considerable lift on the year.  Leading the trade were the first prize pen from Philip & Fiona Scott; an upstanding, square pen of ewes from their heather-clad Westburnhope holding high on Hexhamshire and these sold for a straight £100 per head to regular buyers Messrs Archer, Stone Stile, Allendale. The next pen in the rankings were the impressive annual drove from Low Bleakhope in the North of the county which included the third prize pen and Messrs Nelson as always filled the ring, this year with 132 head that sold to cut at £96.  Presented within the Swaledale section were a smart part dispersal of stock ewes from noted purveyor Jeff Wilkinson, Pry Hill, Sinderhope that scaled to £140 purchased by Nick Howard, Wentworth Riding.  The entire offering of draft ewes in this class levelled at exactly £20 per head up on the same figure last year.

Always sought after another useful entry of both North & South Country Cheviot draft ewes were brought to Hexham from the neighbouring valleys of The Rede & The Coquet and these too saw a lift of twenty pounds per head. Trade peaked at £125 per head for a smart pen of five year olds from The Dudlees which sold to Allan Scott, Wooler.  These were followed by a hefty pen of fifty from Messrs Walton, Wholehope that steadily climbed to £109 selling to Greenchesters Farm, Otterburn with the best of this years offering from Shillmoor changing hands at £106 to the same buyers.

A greatly increased entry of Blackface and Swaledale gimmers were forward and the best of these saw lifts of £25-£45 per head on the year although trade was very much one of two halves with top pens selling easily and demand for sheep further down the cut harder to cash than last year.  Prices peaked at £245 for the third prize pen of modern sorts with carcase, colour & coats that the Hexham type is renowned for from Messrs Walton, Toft House that swiftly climbed and were purchased by new customers attending this sale for the first time from Lofthouse, North Yorkshire.  

Following were the second prize pen from Angus & Jamie Murray, Sewingshields and the Roman Wall authorities on the breed topped at £235 to now longstanding buyers at this sale Messrs Campbell, Galashiels.  Next in the rankings and in a ‘switch-around’ from the judges selection were the first prize pen, lot leaders and indeed the first pen of gimmers to be sold on the day from Messrs Robson, Townshields and these too from Hadrians Wall exceeded the upper reaches of the sale to cash at £230 per head selling to the same Borders based buyers.

A variable trade was experienced throughout with mid-run and secondary types certainly buyable against trade seen in previous years however that said the entire class sold, as was expected, with a considerable lift on the year of £16.45 per head.

Swaledale gimmers were fewer in number and only marginally down on the year however these peaked at £155 per head for a typically stylish pen from Jeff Wilkinson, Pry Hill, sold alongside his offering of stock sheep


With the pick of the season already sold a small offering of horned ewe lambs were brought forward and easily found new homes albeit at easier rates than seen earlier in the month.  Blackie ewe lambs hit £124 and £111 from Robert Mackay, Billsmoor Park and Swales topped at £76 for a sweet, handy pen from Stuart Nelson, Low Bleakhope.

Leading prices;

Blackfaced Ewes

5 years-£150 Townfoot & Fleephope, £148 Fleehope, £132 Featherwood, £125 Whitton, £118 & £110 Featherwood, £102 Whitton & Featherwood

6 years-£155 Toft House, £140 & £139 Dunns House, £134 Horseholme, £115 Toft House, £110 & £104 Dudlees, £100 The Dunns, £96 Dudlees, £94 (x2) Cottonshope

Mixed ages-£111 Monkridge Cottage

Swaledale Ewes

5 years-£100 Westburnhope, £96 (x2) Low Bleakhope, £94 Roxburgh Mill, £85 & £84 Westburnhope, £82 Whitelees

6 years-£80 The Raw, £70 Ottercops

Blackfaced Gimmers

£245 Toft House, £235 Sewingshields, £230 Townshields, £210 Toft House & Sewingshields, £200 Knott Hill, Dudlees (x2), Horseholme (x2) & Yatesfield, £198 Fallstone, £195 Sewingshields & Horseholme (x2), £192 Bridgeford, £190 Greenleas & Dudlees, £185 & £180 Townshields

Swaledale Gimmers

£155 Pry Hill, £125, £120 Ivy Cottage

Blackfaced & Swaledale Stock Sheep

Billsmoor Park & Witton stock dispersal

Blackfaced 1 crop-£125

Blackfaced 2 crop-£120

Blackfaced 3 crop-£112

Blackfaced 4 crop-£105

Pry Hill Swaledale Ewe stock dispersal

 Swaledale 1 crop-£140 & £128

Swaledale 2 crop-£128

Swaledale 3 crop-£122

Swaledale 4 crop-£95

Blackfaced & Swaledale Ewe Lambs

Blackfaced-£124, £111 & £88 Bilsmoor Park, £80 Fleehope, £78 Embley, £75 Cleughfoot

Swaledale-£76 Low Bleakhope, £68 Stobby Lea

Cheivot Ewes

4 Crop-£132 (x2) Reavley Farm

5 Crop-£125 Dudlees

Mixed Ages-£100 Dudlees

Cheviot 6 years-£72 & £65 Cottonshope

North Country Cheviot-£100 Flotterton

South Country Cheviot-£109, £106, £90 (x2) Flotterton

Mule & Continental Gimmers

A very mixed show of gimmers overall at the second sale. The best end of Texel gimmers sold to £285.00 from Messrs Ormiston, Larch Hill.

Mule Gimmers topped at £200.00 for a tremendous pen from Messrs Vallans & Middleton, Field Head, Longhorsley.

Suffolk x gimmers sold to a high of £175.00 from Mr A J Brown, Duston Hill Farm, Alnwick.

Texel-£285 Larch Hill, £250 Lough Green & Larch Hill, £200 Larch Hill (x2)

Texel x-£175 Claywalls, £170 Halton Red House, Comb Hills & Hagdon Moor, £165 Halton Red House, £162 Harnham Cottage, £160 Halton Red House

Suffolk x-£175, £160 (x2) Dunston Hill

Dutch Texel-£200, £196, £190 East Greenridge

Mule-£200 Middleton Field Head, £182 Green Rigg, £170 Camp Hill, Middleton Field Head (x2) & Halton Red House, £168 Beukley Farms & Brigg Farm, £165 Halton Red House, £164 Harnham Cottage

Kerry Hill-£160 Comb Hills

Jacob-£140 Comb Hills

Herdwick-£136 Comb Hills

Mule & Continental Ewes

Older Mule ewes were in great demand with four crop Blackfaced bred ewes selling to £148.00 from Messrs W S Robson & Co, Yatesfield. Making the trip down from the north of the country was Mrs V S Allgood, Reavley Farm, selling four crop Cheviot Mules to £132.00

Texel x 4 Crop-£148 Yatesfield

Mule 1 Crop-£132 Hotbank

Mule 2 Crop-£130 Pry Hill

Mule 3-4 Crop-£110 Pry Hill

Mule 4 Crop-£148, £144 & £134 Yatesfield

Mule 5 Crop-£114 Coatyards

Stock Ewes

Continental Ewe Lambs

The fourth sale of ewe lambs was mainly made up of running type lambs which met a selective trade.

Texel x ewe lambs sold to a high of £138.00 for another Northern Northumbrian producer coming to Hexham, Robertson of Stamford,Alnwick.

Texel-£120 Whiteside

Texel x-£138 Stamford, £132 Sillywrea, £127 Whiteside, £126 Low Eshells, £124 & £123 Whiteside, £121 Low Eshells

Suffolk x-£128 & £122 Stewartshield, £104 East White Hill

Zwartbles-£98 Waterloo

Herdwick-£52 Waterloo

Beltex x-£132 & £130 Low Espley

Mule Ewe Lambs

Mule ewe lambs also sold to a high of £138 from the Robson Family, The Hole, Bellingham

£138 Hole Farm, £136, £134 & £132 Pitland Hills, £130 & £128 Hole Farm, £126 Camphill, £125 Rusheylaw & Camphill, £124 Embley, £122 Rusheylaw, Camphill, Hotbank & Embley