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Joe Throup to judge North of England Mules at Great Yorkshire Show

Craven’s Joe Throup says he is looking forward to both the honour and challenge of judging the high profile North of England Mule sheep classes at this year’s Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate, which runs next week from Tuesday-Friday, July 9-12.

Joe knows exactly what attributes he will be looking for across the six NEMSA show classes, which are again scheduled to begin at 2pm on Wednesday, second day of the show.

He explained: “I will be seeking to identify all the important breed points of the renowned North of England Mule – a big, bold head, good conformation, broad-chested with length and level back, no dips, very straight on legs with a leg in each corner. Good body, bone, markings and wool are also keynote considerations.”


The Throup family name is synonymous across the local area for its expertise in breeding the North of England Mule. Joe farms at Berwick Intake Farm, Draughton, with wife Nancy and son, George. Daughter Alice is a midwife in Manchester - she has progressed from delivering lambs and calves at home to safely delivering babies! They bought the farm 40 years ago in 1984 when Joe was aged just 24 and have been breeding North of England Mules ever since, having been long-standing members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) since around 1990.

Mule Gimmer Lamb Line Up 2023

The family’s Chelker pedigree Bluefaced Leicester flock was first established in 1992, adopting a policy of both breeding and buying in solid tups when new bloodlines are required. These are put to around 370 Swaledales – all ewes are bought in, once again from recognised breeders, to produce the all-purpose North of England Mule.

They sell around 340 Mule gimmer lambs annually, splitting them between auction marts in Skipton, Bentham, Hawes and Pateley Bridge, a long-standing policy that means they are much easier to get ready, with a good number of show tickets also claimed across the years. 


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