As the year moves on at an alarmingly rapid pace the time has all too quickly come round for Castlewellan Blackface Sheep Breeders again to start making preparations for their annual sale which is only a matter of weeks away in Hilltown on Wednesday, 14th September.
The success of the first Blackface National Show in Northern Ireland, which was held at Balmoral last year, put the spotlight firmly back on Blackface sheep and their position at the top of the summit of the pyramid of stratification of the British and Irish sheep industry.
The hill areas such as the Mournes and Slieve Croob produce a reservoir of quality Blackface females, which are drafted to marginal or lowland farms either as ewe lambs or four or five year old ewes, where they are crossed with various breeds including the Bluefaced Leicester to produce the much sought after Mule ewe.
The local society knows that it is now vitally important to have a presence on the web and equally as important a social media profile. With this in mind the society now have its own website and Facebook page. If you put Castlewellan Blackface Sheep Breeders into Google this will give you a link to the website. A very useful feature of the website is a Download Document section where anyone can view or download the sale catalogue, for example, at the click of a mouse in the week leading up to the sale.
This year’s sale will follow a different format to last year. The sale will start at 2pm with mule ewe lambs followed immediately by blackface shearling ewes, blackface ewe lambs and then blackface aged ewes finishing with blackface shearling rams, ram lambs and aged rams.