Friday 30 October 2009

Lanark Tup Lamb Sale

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Well Shep made it over the border again and headed up to Lanark for the second days sale of tup lambs.

The day previous had been the shearling day but Shep remained in Northumberland to sort the lambs out-bye ready for the store sale the following day and get the ewe hoggs ready for the wagon which was booked to take them away to winter keep as the shepherd himself needed to get to Lanark to purchase his shearlings, no great hardship as Shep was just trotting along as a spectator - a day away for the lamb sale would be fine.

Heading off to spectate meant there was no need to leave home at 5.30am as those had done the day previously, no we had a leisurely start and steady run up there, arriving just after 11. The sale was due to start at 10.30 so we knew we would miss some of those in the catalogue, it's sad but for once a lie in held priority to getting there on time. If only we'd known the sale was rescheduled to start at 11 we may well have left half an hour sooner! Seemingly there were a 100 less tup lambs forward than on the catalogue and so the auctioneers delayed the start of the sale by half an hour, we missed the Drumgrange lamb which sold for £36,000 quite literally by seconds - that's life! (I did enjoy the leisurely start to the day so won't grumble)

I have to say I do scratch my head at these prices, a lamb making £36,000? Okay, it would be bought by a consortium of farmers - a leg each so to speak, they would either take sheep to him or get semen from him implanted into their ewes, but I still can't help think it's a lot of money, however it was a long way from the top price of the day.

It would be unfair to pass judgement on the lambs forward as we found ourselves perched up in the gods; not the ideal place to study a sheep, I also never went through the pens, due mainly to the fact the ring was packed and had I left my spot I might never have got close enough to see a sheep in the ring for the rest of the day. I stood glued to the spot for the duration of the sale.

I will say that I was taken aback at the amount of black wool visible in the sheep. Scotch sheep were renowned for clean colours and clean wool, as I've already said in a past blog the 'type' has changed in recent years and show more colour (blacker faces and darker legs), undoubtedly when you get colour like that it will invariably show in the wool but a number of these sheep were being sold with black collars, a lot of black in the tail and no doubt any amount of spots to be found throughout their bodies. That I did not expect and especially not at the money they were realising. Quite an eye opener I can tell you.

The photograph at the top of this page is a lamb off Nunnerie, I would like to tell you it was the one which made £60,000 and duly topped the sale, but that would be a lie, it was the sheep which followed at £22,000 - why? well, it's one of those embarrassing moments that Shep often has too many of. As the auctioneer passed the £30,000 mark I realised I maybe ought to be taking a photo, unfortunately as I raised the camera to my eye the batteries fell out the bottom of it and clattered everyone below on the head - umm! not the brightest of moves! I received one or two glowers and wished a hole would open up, all four batteries were kindly returned by which time the tup had been sold. Only I could cause mayhem when you truly couldn't have heard a pin drop..................

For someone who always feels self conscious when using the camera in public I really could have done without drawing attention to myself, apologies to all those whose concentration was shattered by my reckless batteries. Hence the photograph is of the next tup in the ring - end of story!

My spirits were lifted shortly after when a text came through on the mobile to thank me for doing a good job of drawing the lambs yesterday followed with the prices they had made. The little things in life can mean a lot.
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Above: tup lamb off Connachan selling for £26,000