Longtown Mart comes up in conversation often when Shep is working around the countryside. There are many I work for send their sheep across to Longtown to be sold claiming it is the place for horned sheep, especially store or fat lambs.
T'was whilst talking to one such person I admitted that I had never been to Longtown Mart, this remark was met with sheer disbelief quickly followed with the offer of a ride across for the ewe sale. I didn't refuse the offer, especially as there was a decent entry of South Country Cheviots on the day, my curiosity over these little blighters never fails to get the better of me!
The Annual Border Ewe Sale is a sale of hill sheep, catagorised as North Country Cheviots, Border Cheviots (southies) and horned sheep. A good variety of sheep to view and breeding sheep at that. It is always very interesting to see what sort of sheep come off farms you have heard of but not dealt with. A breeding sale gives you the opportunity to view the stock off these farms you're unfamiliar with.
There were a variety of ages of sheep forward on the day. Some stock sheep being sold due to dispersals, these were sold in regular ages (from ewe lambs right through to the older ewes). It was a bit disconscerting that the sheep being dispersed of totaled 1,100 out of the total catalogue entry of 8,772.
Anyhow, Shep was quite excited and trotted off with on Wednesday 28th September with a couple of farmers over into Cumbria to visit Longtown Mart for the very first time.
As the photo shows it was a roasting hot day - quite unbelievable for the time of the year, summer had arrived but for a very short spell.
I have to admit to being a tad taken aback when wandering around the pens of sheep outside. There were many which had been well turned out for the job, which is what I am accustomed to, however there were equally as many which weren't. By turned out for the job I mean a bit of pride taken in them - dressed, tidied up, mebbes even coloured, which is usual for anyone selling breeding sheep, they want them to look their best for the occasion. There were some which looked like they'd just been dragged in out of a field or off the hill without a second thought which seemed strange when it was the annual sale of breeding hill ewes.
Everyone to their own though, there isn't the staff around that there used to be and there are many older farmers around so maybe it just isn't practical to spend time trying to make your sheep look their best. As it happened the trade was very strong and it seemed to make little difference as to the quality of the animals you were selling.
I was told by a neighbouring farmer whom I bumped into that often the poorer end or second draws of ewes may be found at Longtown, whether this is the case or not they sold well, very well. The same man also told me he had grave concerns about me, apparently every time he sees me I'm looking at Cheviots rather than Blackies! Umm.......
On that note I would disagree that the South Country Cheviots were represented by the poorer end, there were some high quality sheep on offer and the prices reflected this
All in all it was an enjoyable day out, in good company and very interesting. I can at least now say that I have been to Longtown Mart!
Longtown Mart has a very good website, which also includes videos of some of the sales and a good selection of photographs, so anyone wishing to see how sheep or cattle are sold at an auction could take a peek at http://www.cdfarmersmart.co.uk/longtown/index.html
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- Away day again... The Holme (Newcastleton) blue gr...
- Have wheels, will travel (chapter three)
- Have wheels, will travel (chapter two)
- Have wheels, will travel (chapter one)
- keeling - stock mark
- Hexham Mart. Draft ewe sale day.
- Hexham Blackfaced Tup Sale 2011
- Harvest thanksgiving
- Longtown Mart. Annual Border Ewe Sale 2011
- Glen and Kale visit the Brownies
- y' learn something new every day!
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