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Robinson show double and class hat-trick with North of England Mules at Agri Expo

Carnforth’s James Robinson achieved a remarkable show double and unprecedented class hat-trick at Borderway Agri Expo 2022 when winning the North of England Mule gimmer lamb pairs class for the third time in succession, also standing champion in the singles class, newly introduced this year.

The pairs victors, receiving the NEMSA Perpetual Trophy, were bred at Millstone Moor, Cockermouth, by Neil Marston and were from his prize-winning pen out of Hawes – the Royal Highland Show winner by Highberries P5 and its pairing by M1 Highberries.

Philip Elliot, Mungrisdale, stood runner-up with the first of his two pairs from the Reed family at Lands Farm, Westgate, Bishop Auckland, the second pair from the same stable standing sixth. James Robinson was in the prizes again in third place with a combination pairing from David Lawson and Andrew Brown, of Asby Hall, near Appleby, also the breeder behind the seventh place pairing, again from James.

Chris Hewitt, from Bentham, stood fourth in the pairs with a couple bred by Gavin White, of Horton-in-Ribblesdale and bought out of Bentham. The Geary family, long-distance exhibitors from Milton Keynes, finished fifth with a pair bred by Freddie Moore at High Side, near Haltwhistle, while Wigton’s Julie Brough took eighth place in a fabulous line up with a pairing bought out of a pen at Cockermouth from Messrs Folder at Wescoe.

The singles class was equally as keenly fought. The judge, Trevor Foster, from Ryehill, Sedbergham, kept both exhibitors and onlookers on their toes with a last minute swap around to give James Robinson another championship with his lamb bred by Martin Allan’s Greenhow flock in Dufton, being by M1 Smearsett, from the Booth family in Feizor, north of Settle.

Philip Elliot was bridesmaid again in the singles class with a lamb bred by the Fairburns at Marriforth. Third place went to Julie Brough with a lamb bred by Geoff Wharton, Keisley, and bought out of Lazonby, while Philip Elliot again chipped in with the fourth place single, a Hexham-bought lamb bred by the Reed family.

James Robinson stood fifth with a lamb bred at Low Dowgill by Messrs Lord and David Lawson’s Gragereth breeding also helped James get eighth place, Chris Hewitt splitting the Carnforth prize winners in sixth and eighth with two individual lambs bred by Gavin White.

A packed ringside at the Agri Expo, again organised by Harrison & Hetherington and staged at Borderway in Carlisle, once more proved a resounding success when bringing down the curtain on the 2022 show season.

In the NEMSA show classes, nine exhibitors put forward 41 entries, the new single Mule gimmer lamb class proving particular popular. Adjudicator Trevor Foster expertly choose his champion lambs and was quick to comment afterwards that “as the bar gets higher, the breeders are rising to the challenge and the quality is improving year on year, producing a tremendous show of sheep.”

NEMSA’s national chairman, Cumbrian sheep farmer Chris Harrison, commented: “Agri Expo was, as always, a fabulous showcase for the North of England Mule. The show lambs are hand-picked from across the North of England and while the initial credit must be with the breeders it is down to the stockmanship skills of the purchasers to maintain the lambs at this exceptional level.

“While James Robinson and other more experienced exhibitors manage to win prizes year on year we are seeing more and more young keen farmers biting on their heels, like first-time showman Joshua Jack from Milton Keynes who made the trip up.”


Pic caption (top): James Robinson, left, with one of his Agri Expo-winning pair of North of England Mule gimmer lambs, joined by family, show judge Trevor Foster, sponsors’ representatives and NEMSA chairman Chris Harrison, right.

Pic caption (above): James Robinson’s North of England Mule single gimmer lamb, which stood champion in the new show class at Agri Expo.

Pics by Charlotte Peart Art and Photography

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