Exceptional sheep and cattle entries at the Northumberland County Show 2015

Sheep steward says Champion of Champions a "real show sheep" with extremely rare character at the Northumberland County Show

Robert Smith Andrew Rimmer with the Northumberland County Show 2015 Dairy Champion, Haresfoot Napier Bella
Andrew Rimmer with the Northumberland County Show 2015 Dairy Champion, Haresfoot Napier Bella

Both the cattle and sheep sections at the Northumberland County Show enjoyed particularly strong entries this year, with many enthusiasts travelling from outside the North East to show their livestock at the event.

In both sections entries were up significantly and new classes were offered, including a Simmental category in the cattle section and a native breeds category in the sheep.

Chief steward of the sheep section, Robert Raine, himself from a renowned sheep farming family, said: “It’s been tremendous this year, with entries up to nearly 400.

“And we’re getting more sheep from outside the area, from places like Cumbria, Scotland and Yorkshire. We’ve got a really good show too; the quality is fantastic.”

The Texels section, he added, had been particularly strong - with this year’s Champion of Champions, a Texel gimmer from Gordon Gray and family, being exceptional.

“She’s a fantastic sheep,” Mr Raine said. “I have never seen a sheep with so much character - a real show sheep.”

Among the cattle section, meanwhile, a British Blue cross from the Wilkinson family of Ivy Farm Cottages, Leyburn, earned both the Commercial Beef Trophy and the Reserve Champion of Champions title.

In the Dairy Section, the Interbreed Dairy Champion was named as Haresfoot Napier Bella, a previous Great Yorkshire Show and Great Eccleston Show breed champion, owned by Andrew Rimmer of Sandy Way, Ormskirk.

The show, held for the third year at Bywell, also proved a successful day out for the Hoggarths from Cumbria, who showed eight Coloured Ryedales from their small flock of 20.

After earning a rosette in every class within the new Pedigree Native Sheep section, they went on to win the Championship and thrived in the Young Handlers section, with six-year-old Sam Hoggarth being crowned under-11 champion for his skillful control of Lizzy, a white-woolled Ryedale lamb.

“My Grandad has been teaching me how to handle a sheep in the ring,” he said. “I really love them; they’re so friendly.”

Sam’s older brother Alex also came third in his class.

Their aunt Joanne Fisher, who farms with her father Malcolm at Greenlea in Southwaite, said: “We bought four Coloured Ryedales in the autumn of 2013. It’s an unusual breed that originates in Herefordshire.

“The herd has grown to 20, and the two boys are really involved in their day to day care.”

Young Handlers judge, Peter Turnbull, of Whitby, said: “I look for how the child is able to lead the sheep around, and how well they hold it. I also think genuine interest is an important factor.”

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