Champion UK accolade for Toomebridge Dorset flock

Standing out in the crowd
Standing out in the crowd

The Kilvaddy Dorset Flock of Allister and Pamela McNeill of Taylorstown Road, Toomebridge, having recently been awarded the title of Champion Flock in the NI Dorset Flock competition, has since gone on to gain Reserve Champion Flock in the National UK Flock Competition 2017.

This is a brilliant reflection on the Kilvaddy Flock and a wonderful achievement given the quality of sheep and standard of flocks entered for both the NI and overall UK competitions, and while Allister has modestly expressed surprise on his success, he and his wife Pamela are no doubt delighted by the result of their efforts.

In order to acknowledge their success, on Saturday, 19th August all roads for NI Dorset breeders lead to the farm of Allister and Pamela, to join with the family in celebrating their recent flock winning achievements. In spite of the inclement weather, the event was well attended with visitors eager to see the quality Kilvaddy Flock.

Proceedings commenced with the NI Dorset Club being welcomed by Club Chairperson Amy McConnell, following which Allister gave the audience an outline of the journey made since establishing the flock in 2003.

With founding females from the Slemish, Manor and Ballytaggart Flocks and the purchase of a shearling ewe ‘Poorton F200’ from the May Fair 2006, the nucleus of the Kilvaddy Flock was formed, with the result that nearly all stock has been bred from these initial purchases up until the present day. Allister’s success in the local shows in recent years has Kilvaddy sheep being placed in Show and Reserve Show Championships in Balmoral, Ballymena and Omagh. Allister expressed that he had gained a lot of satisfaction from showing and agreed it presents an important shop window for promoting the breed. Indeed this year he has actively set out to bring his lambing pattern forward to September, which heralds the beginning of the Dorset year, in order to compete more at annual agriculture shows. Allister’s ever growing list of achievements this current year included Reserve Champion in both Balmoral and Omagh; N.I. Champion flock including 1st in Small Flock section, and 1st prize ewe lambs; and finally in the National Flock competition a 1st in the Small Flock section and Overall Reserve Champion Flock. As Allister said, ‘the highpoint so far for the Kilvaddy Flock’.

Before the visiting breeders set off to view the flock, we were given a talk by Kieran Travers of ROXAN, a Selkirk based company who have established a range of animal tags produced in N.I. and distributed on request. Keiran had an extensive range of products on display and gave prospective customers information on the various choices of tags available. His price comparisons were very competitive and all inquiries are welcome by telephone 028 2076 1760 or Email or accessing the web on

Following this, the visitors’ first stop was to view the ewe lambs which had been awarded first place in the NI Flock competition. These were of superb quality ewe lambs, some of which had been to the fore in the local show competitions. The next highlight of the day was the visit to the Kilvaddy ewes and it was soon apparent why this flock had won the NI Champion Flock and UK reserve Champion. While the flock presented as being very uniform in quality and presence, Allister’s show ewe bred off a Slemish ram and Sherborne dam was to the fore and gave the viewers an opportunity to admire her attributes. Also to be admired were the stock rams, with a Hilltop Tarantino bred Rossiz Wildfire catching the eye of all present.

On returning from the walk, rosettes were awarded to the various place winners in the different categories of the NI Dorset Flock Competition where Allister and Pamela McNeill received the Champion Flock, and Ken Thompson the Reserve Champion Flock awards. While the Champion Kilvaddy Flock results also included 1st for Small Flock and 1st for Ewe lambs, other winners included Mark Truesdale’s 1st for Medium Flock, and Shane Wilson’s 1st for Group of Stock Rams and also 1st for Individual Stock Ram. G & S Miller was adjudged the best new entrant to the competition and the rosettes were presented by Mr Kieran Travers of Roxan. Additional winners in the various Sections included Laura Weir and Alex Hanna, having been placed in the Medium Flock and the Group of Stock Rams.

The day had been enjoyed by all present and finished off with a delicious spread of food presented by the McNeill family and friends. The NI Dorset Club would wish to thank Allister and Pamela for hosting this event, and wish them continuing success in the future. Thanks are also due to all who contributed in any way to the success and enjoyment of the day.