Countdown begins to Skipton Christmas primestock spectacular

Countdown begins to Skipton Christmas primestock spectacular

Skipton Auction Mart’s Christmas primestock highlight this year offers enhanced interest and incentives for both vendors and buyers alike – and the regional meat trades sector in particular.

The annual showcase, known as Craven Lingfield Christmas show day, takes place on Sunday 30th November.

It represents the climax of Skipton’s primestock year, attracting the pick of the prime cattle, lambs and pigs that have been naturally reared and nurtured by leading local and regional farmers, with the majority purposely prepared for the high profile fixture.

This, in turn, attracts the cream of the region’s butchers, both traditional family-run independent retail businesses and top meat wholesalers who buy on behalf of their own butcher customers. All are out to source some of the best meat that money can buy as festive feasts for their customers’ Christmas tables.

There are nine butchers’ cattle classes, including new categories this year purposely introduced to encourage farmer vendors to bring forward more lightweight animals to create enhanced appeal among retail butchers in particular.

Eight butchers’ lambs classes, all for pens of three and covering all the main sheep breeds, are also on the agenda, along with three shows classes for prime pigs, again in pens of three. A host of class and special prizes are again up for grabs and supreme champions will emerge in all three sections.

Title winners can look forward to achieving some heady selling prices, as competition among butchers and meat wholesalers for the cream of the region’s primestock is fierce. Both vendors and buyers grab the glory – and bragging rights to go with it!

All 2013 victors went on to head the respective selling prices. Last year’s prime cattle champion made £2,907, or 510p/kg, the title-winning lambs sold for £420 each, while the prime pig champion trio were knocked down for £230 per head.

Vendors are asked to note that all livestock entries must by received by this coming Monday 17th November.

Judging in the butchers’ primestock show classes begins at 11am. Cattle judges are Keelham Farm Shop’s James Robertshaw, who bought last year’s supreme champion, and Joe Woolley, of Woolley Brothers Wholesale Butchers in Sheffield. Bowland Foods’ Harry Wood will act as lowland sheep judge.

Pigs are scheduled to be sold in their pens at 1pm, followed by lambs from 1.30pm and cattle from 3pm, both in the main sales ring.

An increasingly popular lamb carcase competition is again being staged for the third year and from the three show classes a supreme champion – last year’s title winner made a price-topping £300 – will also emerge.

The initiative presents an ideal opportunity for butchers, hotels and restaurants to purchase award-winning carcases for display and sale in the run up to Christmas. York butcher and regular Skipton buyer Anthony Swales will judge the carcases, which will be on view from 11am, prior to sale at 12.45pm.

Great Northern pork pie showcase

Also on the action-packed programme is the sixth annual Great Northern Pork Pie Competition, the annual Roses ‘battle’ where Yorkshire and Lancashire butchers, farm shops and bakers who make their own pies go head to head to find the best pies from each county, one of which will become overall supreme champion.

Yorkshire pie makers have won every single championship to date, though Farmhouse Fare in Skipton, who have lifted the title for the past four years, have this year been handed the honour of judging to mark their unprecedented run of success,

Farmhouse Fare’ Janet Green and Rob Ogden will have the final say on who will succeed them as supreme champion – possibly a Red Rose victor for a change! The title winner will be crowned from the three classes – traditional pork pies, stand pies and speciality cold eating pies.

There’s an added incentive for the first time in 2014, with a £100 voucher to be awarded to the exhibitor of the supreme champion pork pie, to be redeemed against any live weight Christmas primestock purchase this year.

Judging by ace pork pie aficionados takes place from 1.30pm and there are also show classes for Scotch eggs, sausage rolls, rich fruit cakes, Victoria sandwich cakes and home-made chutney. Also on the menu is the annual show and sale of fodder hay, along with standalone show classes for crooks and walking sticks.

The event, styled on London’s famous former Smithfield Christmas Fatstock Show, regularly attracts upwards of 1,000 people and provides a valuable opportunity for meat men and women to meet farmer producers in person.

A detailed Craven Lingfield Christmas Show programme is posted in the sales catalogue section at

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