New centre records have been set at two Herdwick sales hosted by Harrison & Hetherington at its Broughton-in-Furness centre last week.

A shearling tup sold for an incredible 10,000 guineas and a pen of five ewes sold to £400 per head, both from breeder AJ Hartley of Turner Hall.

The tup and draft ewe sales were held on behalf of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association and were two of their main sales for 2022.

Auctioneer, James Little said: “These sales highlight the revival of this very special breed, which is native to Cumbria, yet saw buyers travel from all over the UK to purchase stock.

“It’s fantastic to see the breed getting the recognition it deserves and going from strength to strength as breeders see its value in the market.”

The Annual Show and Sale of Herdwick Rams took place on Tuesday 27th September, and judging was conducted by Thomas Postlethwait of Spout House, and Stephen Baines of Ghyll Bank, with referee Nicky Race.

The highlight was, of course, the record-breaking tup from AJ Hartley which surpassed the previous record of 7000gns, set in 2021, and was purchased by farmer and writer James Rebanks.

The Annual Sale of Mountain Ewes was held on October 4 and attracted an entry of 1,800 ewes, gimmers, and ewe lambs, and saw a fabulous return for all vendors, especially given the current economic climate.

The sale resulted in average prices for ewes reaching £83.26, a 12% increase on the year. The average price for shearling gimmers also saw an increase of 11% on the year at £106.46.

The revival of this traditional native breed is testament to its hardiness and ability to produce excellent cross-bred lambs, even on rough, less nutrient-dense grazing. With the dramatic increase in inflation rates, input costs have gone through the roof and, as a result, margins are tight.

This is causing farmers to evaluate their enterprises, and where the high-input high-output model might lack efficiency in the current market, low-input breeds such as the Herdwick are providing a solution.

Commenting on purchasing the top selling Herdwick Tup, James Rebanks said: “I was delighted to bring this lad home from Broughton.

“I love ‘colour’, and he’s one of the best coloured and bright tups I have seen in a long time. Congrats to Mr A Hartley, 10,000gns.

"If he does as well for us as the last one or two, then I won’t regret a penny of it.”