Sunday, 12 October 2008

Eve of the Tup Sale

It'll be rise and shine for many Tarset farmers tomorrow, as Hexham Blackfaced Tup Sale dawns. There are a number in this area who fetch out tups especially for this occasion, they will have been nurturing the beasts over the last week, hoping and praying they don't start fighting - causing damage to one another and that nothing goes lame and wont be fit to take to the sale.

For a number of days eyes will have been skywards, looking for a threat of rain; should a drop be imagined the tups will have been dogged back indoors to keep their fleeces dry, ensuring they'll look their best on Monday 13th October. As soon as a threat of dampness has passed the boys will return to grazing outside and keeping their bellies full.

So... I hear you say... What on earth is a tup? Good question! Known as rams in other parts of the country a tup is an entire male sheep, whose sole purpose in life is to breed. A Blackfaced tup? Well he is a horned sheep with a predominantly black face, a hardy breed which runs on the hills of Northumberland and of course Tarset. The North of England Blackface is a relation to the Scottish Blackfaced sheep. A bigger variety of it's more compact scotch cousin, which some are beginning to question may be getting too big and therefore more difficult to keep on poorer ground.

There will be a great deal of scrutinizing of sheep tomorrow at the mart at Hexham, everyone shall be endeavouring to find their perfect sheep, suitable to bring home and put to their ewe flocks. Watch this space and see how it goes.

0 comments: