Shep was on wander about once again. Carlisle Auction Mart run by Harrison and Hetherington over in Cumbria was the venue. A 'hot' date, organised months ago by a farmer I work for in Cumbria.
The said farmer was selling some of his Galloway heifers. I have worked for the gentleman ever since going self employed many years ago, I knew of him through his connection with Galloways and it is this which drew us together so to speak.
Having had a penchant for the black hairy beast ever since my first full time job upon leaving school I still find I have a huge soft spot for the creature. Once prolific on our hills she has seen a decline but is hanging on in there, there are still those who find her attributes the most suitable for their farming practices and there are twice yearly annual sales for the breed held at Carlisle and Castle Douglas, just as there were in my youth.
The said farmer requested my company at the sale at Carlisle. A consignment of about a dozen heifers to sell and he wished to share it with someone who like himself had a soft spot for the breed. There are still a handful of cattle on his farm which are nursing galloway calves and an even smaller handful in calf to the galloway and then that is it, from here onwards all of the galloway cows remaining in the herd will be crossed with the limousin. A lifetime of breeding come to an end. No wonder the guy wanted to share the day with someone who was sympathetic to the cause.
I have to say on the day I was somewhat flabbergasted. I mentioned arriving early to assist with setting cattle out for the judging and that there were many classes forward for the judges to study. As with all show events there is usually one which is deemed the best of the best - the overall champion of the day and so it was at Carlisle. However, the event seemed to be overlooked when the beast entered the ring. Usually at marts I attend whatever animal has won the championship finds its owner being presented with silverware and a round of applause is given by those collected around the ringside. This appeared to be overlooked at Carlisle.
I really was flabbergasted. There were silver cups up on the rostrum not far from the auctioneer, I don't know whether they were all intended for the champion beast or whether some were designated for other prize winners, regardless, they were overlooked. The champion entered the ring and if it had not been for the farmer waving the champion rossette under the nose of the auctioneer I do believe the auctioneer would have sailed on regardless, some splutterings were offered, thanking judges etc and bidding commenced - end of story. Quite an anti climax I'm sure for the farmer who had taken the championship rossette. Not what I am accustomed to that is for sure.
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