Cheviot Ram Sale

Monday 3rd October 2005

Becks lead with £8000 shearling

Despite the growing number of sheep being driven off the hills and uplands of the UK, South Country rams sold well at the breed’s annual ram sale at Lockerbie, on Monday 3rd October 2005.

In fact, such was the demand for big, scouthy Southies, that just short of 60 rams sold at four-figure prices, to produce a bumper average in excess of £635, down just £28 on last year’s sale which witnessed a £14,000 breed record and another sale at £11,000.

Instead, this year’s sale was a much more realistic affair, being led by an £8000 transaction for the best from Jim Robertson’s Becks flock at Lockerbie, with a further 11 rams selling at or above the £3000 bracket.

However, given the current climate, it was the number sold and the average price that was most impressive.
“It was a far better sale than expected,” said Sandy Fleming, the breed society president. “There was a good trade for the best of the breeders sheep but there was also a decent commercial demand with a good number selling between £500 and £1000. The tail-end also sold away well.”

These points were echoed by Lockerbie auctioneer, Michael Stewart, who added: “We sold a lot more sheep than we thought, especially when you consider four farms in the area have already dispersed their Cheviot flocks due to the new CAP reforms. Buyers were also more selective than ever before.”

The best of the day’s trading undoubtedly went to Jim Robertson’s Becks flock which sold eight at four figure prices to produce the day’s lead average of £2200 for 14.

Tops for this 1000-flock, that has been completely re-built following foot-and-mouth, was the pen’s number two, which sold to Robert and John Paton, Castle Crawford, Elvanfoot, who also enjoyed a first-class trade. Their purchase, an ARR/ARR scrapie genotyped shearling ram is by the £8000 Elsdonburn Albert, bought here in 2003 out of a ewe by the £7800 Becks Director.
Sons of the £6000 Bloch Anchor, also bought two years ago, proved popular too, with sons at £5000, £3500 and £2000. Dearest of the bunch was a type two ram out of a ewe that goes back to Winterhope breeding. He sold to Robbie and Roy Weir, Townfoot, Thornhill, Dumfriesshire. Breed society president, Sandy Fleming, Hislop, Teviothead, also forked out the cash, going to £3500 for a type two Anchor son.

Becks’ number one shearling, a type two, also made the grade, realising £3800 to the father and son team of Allan and Billy Common, Crossdykes, Lockerbie. Another boasting first class genetics, this tup is by Glengeith Bandit, a ram bought at the video sale 2001, that has already produced sons to £5000.

Meanwhile, on the outlay side, Becks also bought the best from Robert and John Paton’s Castle Crawford flock, herded by Henry Lawrie, at £5000. This was the reserve overall champion, a two-shear ram by the £8000 Catslack Rocket, that has produced sons to £4000, out of a ewe by a £1600 Bloch. This type two ram also made up part of the first prize pen of three from the 840-ewe flock.

The exact same breeding was behind Castle Crawford’s second best sale at £4000, a type two shearling ram purchased by Crossdykes.

Helping to balance up the books, Crossdykes enjoyed their best ever trade since foot-and-mouth. Despite being second in the ring, this 840-ewe flock sold to a top of £4200 to average £951 for 17. Tops here was a type two shearling by the £2400 Catslack Vili, out of a Stirkfield-bred ewe, which was purchased by GG Douglas and Son, Mainside, Hownam, Kelso. Crossdykes number one shearling, a type one son of the £900 Castle Kenneth, bought in 2001, was another in the money, realising £3500 to Norman and David Douglas, Catslackburn, Yarrow. The mother is a Castle Crawford gimmer.

At £2200, Jimmy and George Irving, Mountbenger, Yarrow, bought back some of their own breeding from Crossdykes, buying a R1 Townfoot Juniper-sired tup out of a Mountbenger female.

Fourth top was a £4800 transaction for Sandy Fleming’s number three, a type two ram by the £10,500 Townfoot Topper, a ram bought in 2002 in partnership with Becks. This tup, which also stood second in his class as a shearling at Roberton Show, is out of a ewe by Crossdykes Usk.

Usk was also behind a £2600 sale from Mr Fleming’s Hislop flock, herded by David Goodfellow, when a two-shear ram bred the exact same way their £11,000 ram sold last year, was knocked down to Castle Crawford.

The champion from Norman and David Douglas’s 800 pure-bred Southie flock from Catslackburn, Yarrow, came under the hammer for £4000. This type two shearling is by the retained home-bred stock ram, Catslack Black Douglas 3 — a son by the Catslack Black Douglas 2 — out of a ewe by a £3800 Castle Crawford. The buyer was Billy Goodfellow, Glengeith, Elvanfoot, who later sold his best, a type two shearling ram by the £2600 Castle Navigator out of a Catslack-bred ewe, for £3000 to Becks.

There were smiles all round too, when Langholm Farms, managed by Drew Guthrie and herded by Ian Cuthbert, enjoyed their best ever trade from the Cooms flock. They sold to a top of £3800 for a shearling ram by the £2800 Stirkfield Leader out of a ewe by a Winterhope sire, one of 900 Southies in the flock. Placed second in his class at Holm Show, this type two ram goes out to work at Castle Crawford.

William Moffat, renowned Cheviot shepherd, now based at Unthank, was another in the money, selling his two-shear Glenochar-bred ram bought privately last year at the Glenochar dispersal, for £3500. This type two son of Glengeith Cobra, was knocked down to George Bell and son Ian, Bloch, Langholm, who earlier in the day, received £2200 for a type two son of Bloch Dan, the home-bred ram that hails back to some notable Murtholm bloodlines.

Tops for Mark Bell’s Winterhope consignment from Lockerbie, herded by Ian Aitchison, was a £2800 transaction, for the pen leader, a type one shearling son of the £8600 Attonburn Zepplin that stood second in Moffat. He is out of a Catslackburn ewe and sold to Becks.

Another family enjoying their best ever trade since foot-and-mouth was the father and son team of Robert and Alistair Warden, Skelfhill, Hawick.

Tops for this flock, which lost 800 Cheviot ewes in the cull, was a £2500 sale to J Hepburn, Crosscleugh, Yarrow. This two-shear ram is by Stirkfield Jackal, an £800 tup bought at the video sale out of a Catslackburn ewe. He stood first in his class at Roberton as a shearling.

And, just behind, on £2200, Skelfhill sold a two-shear ARR/ARR son of Catslack Future, down to Wales, to LG Jones, Cefngof, Sennybridge, Brecon.