Swaledales have been at Haltcliffe for as long as the Ridley family has, with the flock re-established in 2001 with ewes from three of the breed’s leading flocks.
The first of these replacement ewes were bought from the Punchard flock of George and Paul Harker, with a further 15 bought from Tom Robinson’s Catlow flock.
In 2002 a further 10 more of the best Catlow Gimmers were bought at the on-farm sale and the top pen of draft ewes from Robert Thornborrow’s West Stonedale flock.
Early sires used in the restocking included Punchard Dent 1st B29738, a Jubilee Invader son and Punchard Valley 7th B29739, a son of a Valley Farm tup. Both these sires left top quality females and Valley 7th sired tups to £6500 while Dent 1st sired tups to £5000.
Since then new sires have been added as and when required, with Mossdale Crisp, an £18,000 purchase at Kirkby Stephen in 2005 proving to be, one of the leading sires used to date. He is by the £35,000 Catlow E.E.M 3rd, we have sold sons of Crisp up to £7500, but it is his daughters which have been most notable. The best of them won the gimmer hoggs class at Mungrisdale tup show in 2007 and went on to breed Haltcliffe Invader, sold at Hawes 2011 for the flocks top price to date of £26,000.
Another sire making his mark on the Swaledale flock is Buttrigg Jumbo which was bought in partnership for £14,000 at Hawes in 2008 when he was champion at the show and sale. He was the sire of £26,000 Haltcliffe Invader sold at Hawes in 2011.
About 15 Swaledale shearling tups are offered for sale at Hawes and Kirkby Stephen each year with a number of draft ewes and ewe lambs also sold both privately and at local ewe sales.