With Sheep scanning in progress and the last of the mule wether lambs loaded onto the wagon, our thoughts are of the forthcoming lamb crop, so I better get our Branch report completed.

For the first time in a number of years, Weardale Branch took sheep away on a demonstration to Scotsheep, unfortunately the weather completely drowned the entire event, leaving a lot of hard work in vain. I was not there personally, but I heard a lot of positive comments especially about the new pen on the stand.

Thanks to M W Skidmore Ltd for the loan of the sheep and to Ian Craig and Robbie Collingwood for seeing to them, and also to John English from the Northumberland Branch for transporting them for us. Moving on to the sales, our main sale the Tow Law Sale, at Hexham Auction Mart there was an increase in entry with a pleasing trade to average £109.57, a rise of £3.20 on the year.

The pre-sale show was judged by Phillip Elliott, with a level show of quality lambs and much thought, the results were:- 1st Ian Potts, Redburn, 2nd TA Collingwood and Sons, Ambling Gate, 3rd R Collingwood, Starwardshield Meadows, 4th GW Lee and Sons, Stockley Burn.

The following day at St Johns Chapel again an increased entry mainly of running lambs which were £3.89 up taking the average to £96.68, which exceeded the record average from 2 years prior.

For the judging we welcomed one of Weardale’s most regular buyers, Chris Hunt and his daughter Alice Cook who awarded the following results :- 1st M and B Coulthard, Bridge End, 2nd W M Reed and Sons, Lands Farm, 3rd J Robinson, Ling Riggs, 4th T A Collingwood and Sons, Ambling Gate.

For the best run of lambs, the English cricket captain Alistair Cook got in on the action and helped his father in law award the Lee Jameson Memorial Trophy to M and B Coulthard, however, when it got down to the serious business of buying sheep – he was left holding the baby. I would like to thank our auction marts especially auctioneer Trevor Simpson at Hexham and Northern and Libby Bell from Barnard Castle for their hard work that they put in organising these sales and sourcing buyers, and finally I wish our Branch Secretary Beth Collingwood a safe and successful trip on her forthcoming six month visit to New Zealand.

John Reed