Skipton 2023 Sale – R. Moule Report

Ernie Sherwin’s Nosterfield flock, based in the village of Well, south of Bedale, again proved the standout performer both in the show ring and on price at the 132st annual show and sale of Wensleydale Longwool sheep staged on behalf of Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Breeders Association at Skipton Auction Mart. (Sat, Sept 2)

Ernie took top call of 420gns with his first prize shearling ewe and champion female, one of twins by Nosterfield Marksman, a home-bred ram by the renowned Nosterfield Le Tour Roger and also responsible for last year’s supreme champion shearling ewe from the same home.  Out of a home-bred daughter of Nosterfield Survivor, the top price performer fell to the same Calderdale buyer as last year’s title winner, Richard Walker, of Barkisland.

The prolific Ernie also claimed second top price of 400gns with his fifth prize shearling ram, a twin by Nosterfield Boris, out of a home-bred Le Tour Roger dam, going to North Wales with S Forsyth, Sennybridge.

For good measure, he again stood male and supreme champion with his first prize shearling ram, another twin by Marsksman, though this one, tapped out by show judge, Dr Graham Steventon, Princethorpe flock, returned home, as did Ernie’s second prize shearling ram.

The first prize ewe lamb and reserve female champion came from West Yorkshire husband and wife, Robert Fitzgerald and Louise Barritt, who run the Fairfax flock in Keighley and were making their debut at the breed highlight.

Their all-black single daughter of Ashtree Malcolm, acquired three years ago from Leicestershire breeder James Waite and a Great Yorkshire Show reserve champion as a shearling – thought to be the first black ram ever to achieve this – made 180gns when going to Great Yarmouth with M Starkings, with a similarly bred black shearling ewe from the same home doing better at 240gns when becoming one of four acquisitions on the day by JT&N Monkhouse, Haltwhistle, Northumberland.

The couple, now in their third year of breeding Wensleydales and running a small flock of 12, also consigned the first prize ram lamb, reserve male champion and overall reserve champion, another all-black Ashtree Malcolm single son, though this was unsold.

The Greenwood family, who run the North Yorkshire Walburnmoor flock in Downholme, Richmond, were responsible for the second and third prize ram lambs, along with the second and fourth prize ewe lambs and it was their females that caught the eye on price, the runner-up, a twin by Greenbank Van Dyke, out of a Providence Samson-sired dam, doing best at 340gns when joining Mary Smith, of Killinghall, the same way bred fourth prize winner making 300gns and going to Philippa Gray, of Faeggburgh, Great Yarmouth, a well-known face in the Ryeland world making her first purchase of a Wensleydale lamb.

This selling price was also matched by two further exhibitors, the third prize shearling ram from Suffolk’s Serena Plenderleith, of the Ilketshall flock at Ilketshall St Andrew, Beccles, with a single son of Moonlight George, and the third prize ewe lamb from bred stalwarts, Mark Elliott and family, who run the dual Providence and Garth flocks in Ferrensby, with their third prize ewe lamb, a Providence daughter of Nosterfield Fred. Respective buyers were Adam Stockdale, of Hellifield, and Mary Smith again. Mrs Plenderleith also sold a shearling ewe daughter of Moonlight George at 280gns.

The third and fourth prize shearling ewes came from the Parker & Bird partnership, travelling up from near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire with their Chilton flock, though it was a non-prize winning shearling ewe by Denzeli Dude that performed best on price at 260gns when becoming a further acquisition by Barkisland’s Robert Walker.

Trade was deemed ‘decent,’ with plenty of commercial gimmers sold at 100-140gns and gimmer lambs selling to a more active audience ringside. Top prices and averages: Aged Rams to 200gns (av £172), Shearling Rams to 400gns (av £243),

Ram Lambs to 160gns (av £130), Aged Ewes to 160gns (av £135), Shearling Ewes to 420gns (av £190), Ewe Lambs to 340gns (av £285).

On a busy day, a small turnout of Blue Texel and Dutch Spotted sheep from three vendors saw a Blue Texel ewe lamb from Tim Metcalfe, Clayton, make 200gns, with a pen of four Blue Texel shearlings from Easingwold husband and wife, Ken and Hazel Gamble, selling to 180gns


Pic caption: Ernie Sherwin with his latest Skipton Wensleydale Longwool champion.

If using pic please credit Adrian Legge Photography

Further info: Robin Moule 07976 559961. Secretary Anna Pennell is on 07949989976, email

Wensleydale champion from E L Sherwin.
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