North Craven’s Shaun Richards was top dog again at Skipton Auction Mart annual summer sale of working sheep dogs when selling a well-bred two-year-old tri-coloured bitch for 7,200gns (£7,560). (Friday, July 22)
Mr Richards, who runs Pen-y-Borough Sheep Dogs in Eldroth, near Settle, in the shadow of Pen-y-Ghent, secured top call with his fully Irish-bred and bought Nell, by the renowned stud dog and multiple trials winner Knockmaa Jack, from Michael Hynes in Belclare, County Galway, out of David Nevin’s Jan.
Mr Richards had again put his dog handling skills to effective use on Nell, having used her throughout this year’s lambing season. She also produced a litter of pups three months before the sale and the vendor has retained two, a bitch and a dog, which will be broken and trained and may well appear at a future Skipton dog sale.
Nell, who turned two in June, fell to Scottish Borders hill farmer Niel (correct spelling) Manning, who farms near the source of the River Tweed at Tweedsmuir, near Moffat. He is already well aware of the qualities of Mr Richards’ dogs, having previously gone to a sale-topping 4,000gns at Skipton two years ago for another of his bitches.
Mr Manning will put his latest top price acquisition to work on 1,000 Blackface sheep, which graze from 1,300ft up to 2,000ft above sea level. He said: “Skipton is a good source for dogs and being able to view them beforehand on YouTube is both an informative and valuable source of information.”
Later in the day, Mr Richards also took to the field with another quality November 2014 black and white bitch, Dot, bred by Cumbria’s Arthur Temple, by his Whiterose Flint, out of Jill. She too sold well at 3,600gns when joining a regular buyer from Wales.
Well-known Welsh triallist Kevin Evans, of Penclyn Farm, Modrydd, Brecon, Powys, appeared with two top-notch dogs and achieved 7,500gns (£7,875) for the pair. First up and doing best at 4,100gns was his two-year-old black and white bitch Nel, bred in Wales by two Aberystwyth dog men, being by Ifan Jones’ Carlo, out of Alan Jones’ Mona.
Nel fell to one of Skipton’s most prolific dog buyers Jock Sutherland, who farms at the very top of Scotland at Sangomore, near Durness. “Any further north and you’d be in the sea,” said Mr Sunderland, who is also a familiar face on the Scottish trial circuit, for which Nel becomes another promising prospect, as well as being used at home for work.
Mr Evans, who soon after the sale was due to compete in this year’s Welsh National with a brace of dogs, returned to the Skipton field with his January, 2015, black and white bitch Sheba (Sky), acquired from Ireland. She is by FMC McGuigan’s Fleet, out of John Kinney’s Jan. Sheba sold at 3,400gns to David and Victoria Hill, of Whitewall Farm, Great Asby, Appleby.
Another 4,000gns performer was another Nel, this one a September 2014 black and white bitch from Brian Quigley, of Culmore, Derry. Already placed in nursery trials, she is by Seth, bred in Creggan, Ireland, by James McGee, out of Mr Quigley’s own Cindy. Regular Scottish buyer Joe McRoberts, of Cheviot Sheepdogs at Fingland, near Biggar, Lanarkshire, took yet another Skipton dog home.
One of the final dogs to take to the field was Neidin, a tri-coloured fully home-bred dog almost four years old from John Brennan, of County Tipperary. By his own Glen, with whom the handler has represented the Irish trials team on three occasions, out of the Dunedin Gem daughter Dell, Neiden commanded a solid late price of 3,900gns when falling to County Antrim’s Michael Gallagher.
Earlier, Mr Brennan also achieved 2,000gns with a May, 2012, black and white bitch, Penny.
M Healey, of County Kerry, made 3,200gns with his November 2014, tri-coloured dog, Roy, a good all-rounder by DM Howells’ Ben, out of LM Howells’ Queen, who went to an Oxfordshire farmer.
Another 3,200gns achiever was JA Common, of Lockerbie, with his June 2014, black and white bitch Loos, a winter nursery trial winner by Dewi Kirk, out of Queen, both from DC Meek. She sold to Michael Jones, of Conwy.
Achieving 3,050gns dog was Risp, an April 2014, tri-coloured bitch from R McMullan, of Larne. By G McMullan’s Max, out of the same breeder’s Jess, Risp was snapped up by a regular buyer from Wales.
A classy young 12-month-old black and white bitch, Kate, from Irish handler Owen McLaughlin, of County Donegal, also bred in Ireland by brothers Dan and ‘Coney’ McLaughlin, by the former’s 2013 Irish National champion Dan, out of the latter’s Lass, put in a smooth performance on the trials field.
She caught the eye of Scottish farmer James Mitchell, of Little Larg, near Stranraer, who went to 3,000gns to acquire Kate for his son Danny, who will use her for both work and as a promising novice trials prospect.
Another Irishman to hit 3,000gns was County Antrim’s Donal McAllister with his two-and-a-half-year-old tri-coloured and fully Irish-bred bitch Jodi, by Dean McAuley’s Joe, out of Anthony McKeegan’s Eve. Mr McAllister is a hobby triallist who has already performed well in nurseries with Jodi. She found a new home in Cumbria.
Other dogs to sell at 2,000gns and upwards were:
2,800gns – Nell, a July 2015, black and bitch from Roy Canning, of Keighley
2,600gns – Holly, a September 2014, black and white bitch from Henry Bouch, of Penrith. The same vendor also sold Kilcreen Kate, a February 2014, tri-coloured bitch for 2,050gns.
2,500gns –Harris, a June 2014, black and white dog from LE Blain, of Bala.
2,500 gns – Jet, an April 2011, black and white bitch from local breeder Beverley Fort, of Steeton.
2,500gns – Simba, a June 2014, tri-coloured butch from Richard Atkins, of Oakworth.
2,400gns – Foxridge Eira, a November 2015, black and white bitch from Ulrike Stromer, of Libanus.
2,300gns - John Bell, of Howden, with his 13-month-old black and white bitch, Parks Farm Pip.
2,300gns –Eve, an 18-month-old tri-coloured bitch from A MacDiarmid, of Path.
2,050gns – Nell, a tri-coloured bitch from Gerald Hegarty, of Omagh.
2,000gns – Meg, an August 2015, black and white bitch from Conn McLaughlin, of Clonmany.
Meanwhile, much closer to home – right on the doorstep, in fact – Julie Edington, who works in the mart office at Skipton and also clerks at livestock sales – was seeking a new dog to replace the family’s late, loyal and much lamented dog to work on the flock of 300 ewes at the Edington holding in Bell Busk.
She was over the moon to find one at 1,900gns in Rainow Dan, a tri-coloured dog from Cheshire’s Colin Pickford, of Rainow, near Macclesfield. Dan comes from fine breeding stock, being by Aled Owen’s 2015 International Trials winner, Langwym Cap, out of his own Rainow Bo, who is herself by Aled Owen’s Roy, another International victor for the renowned Welsh triallist.
Sheep farmer Mr Pickford, who regularly sells dogs at Skipton, is himself a well-known triallist, having represented the England team. He will be in action again at this year’s English National.
The day began in the unbroken pen with a strong entry, led at 900gns by a January-born tri-coloured dog, Upland Tan, from Peter Hallam, of Foxt. A litter brother to James McGee’s legendary Sid, being by J Longden’s Storm, out of Mr Hallam’s own Gem, Tan sold to Sion Jones, of Corwen.
Next best at 680gns was another well-bred four-month-old tri-coloured bitch from AC Heathcote, of Macclesfield. A great grandson of Aled Owen’s 2008 World Sheep Dog Trials champion, Roy, and whose own mother is a grand-daughter of Toddy Lambe Craig, Jess joined a Cumbrian farmer.
The ever-growing popularity of dog sales at Skipton, which remains one of the UK’s leading venues, was clearly illustrated by the fact that the summer sale attracted a record high entry of 142 dogs, including a very high percentage of Irish dogs. Sale day began at 8.30am and went right through to 6.30pm - a ten-hour marathon!
Prices and Averages: Broken section: Registered dogs to 3,900 gns (average £1,655), registered bitches to 7,200gns (av £2,336), overall average for registered field dogs £2,079. Unregistered dogs to £1,200gns (average £925) and unregistered bitches to £1,600gns (average £1,365).
One part-broken registered bitch from Peter Hallam of Foxt sold for 2,000gns, with an average of £527. Registered pen dogs sold to 900gns (average £463), unregistered dogs sold to 480gns (average £462) and unregistered bitches to 500gns (average £410).
Jeremy Eaton, general manager at CCM, said: “Whilst the sale did not reach the heights of the previous sale there was a strong underlying trade for dogs which handled the particularly difficult Swaledale Shearlings with confidence.”
Skipton’s Autumn sale of sheep dogs is scheduled to take place on Friday, October 28. Entries close on October 14.