FOR Middleton-in-Teesdale Auction Mart, September and the autumn season brings with it some of the country’s major Swaledale breeding sheep and tup sales attracted from across County Durham, Cumbria, and North Yorkshire.

Over the next few weeks the mart, owned by Harrison & Hetherington, will host its annual Swaledale Gimmer Lamb sale, Ewe and Shearling sale and the annual Swaledale A District Ram sale

Across the three sales, over three separate days, thousands of sheep will go under the hammer in front of hundreds of buyers who flock to Middelton-in-Teesdale for these renowned hill breeding sheep sales.

The first sale of the season, taking place on Friday, September17 is the Swaledale Gimmer Lamb Show and Sale, with both breeding and fell gimmer lambs. Expected to attract upwards of 6000 head of sheep, from across County Durham, Cumbria, and North Yorkshire, this is the largest Swaledale sheep sale of its kind in the country.

Not only is this sale one of the most important sales for the farmers in this area, but in attracting so many buyers, it is also a particularly important event for local businesses and the local economy.

Auctioneer, James Little, said: “This sale is without a doubt one of the highlights in the farming calendar in this part of the country and sees the very best of the Swaledale ewe lambs go under the hammer. The buyers who gather for the sale are looking to buy gimmer lambs from breeders to bring on, either as pure pedigree shearlings, or to cross with Leicester rams.”

He added: “Middleton sales are traditional and noted sales which have a strong following, and James said: “We are seeing breeding sheep sector prices increasing, year on year, and last year Swaledale sales at Middleton were extremely strong. This was a good lambing year, and the sheep should be in top order, so I would anticipate a small rise again this year.”

“The Swaledale breed over the years has played a major part in the UK sheep industry, for its hardiness and its ability to breed the North of England Mule which now account for 14.4 percent of the UK Flock.Middleton sales are well recognised and the sheep from the surrounding farms are hardy sheep, which will go on to do well for buyers from both hill farms and those from lowland farms. This sale promises a magnificent show of Swaledale ewes for buyers to keep pure, or for cross breeding purposes.”