Annual show that showcases sheep

Sarah Devlin
Sarah Devlin

EACH year, the annual Glendale Show in Wooler hosts a number of judging classes for sheep, goats and cattle.

Last year, saw the introduction of a new class for Zwartble sheep which continues to attract more and more participants. Once again, they will be joined by Sarah Devlin and her partner David Richardson from East Haugh Farm near Wooler, who will be showing a selection of their pedigree sheep.

Sarah and David’s dedication and commitment is typical of many young farmers in the Glendale area and the event is an ideal way for them to show the efforts of their hard work to the 15,000 people who visit the show each year.

At this year’s Wooler Show, Sarah will be showing a number of her sheep including a Zwartble ram lamb, Texel ram Lamb, Suffolk gimmer and Suffolk shearling ram.

The couple started farming just five years ago, both aged 18, when they purchased 10 commercial gimmers to set off their small flock.

Following a trip to Carlisle mart, they were impressed by the pedigree sheep and began to purchase pedigree Suffolks, Texels and Blue-Faced Leicesters with the aim of producing breeding rams.

Since then they have travelled the length and breadth of Britain to purchase the best stock they can but they always hope to keep improving.

Their 15-acre small-holding and an additional 50 acres of land they rent near Wooler, is now home to 100 ewes (70 of which are pedigree), and 40 rams which will be sold to farmers in the autumn.

In addition to working the small-holding, Sarah and David work full-time.

Sarah said: “I work at Glendale Engineering, which is handy for our sheep equipment, and David is a self-employed fencer, which is also useful for keeping our own fences in good condition.

“Both of us look after our growing business and hope to expand even further and we are making our own hay from our pastures to reduce food costs.

“We are only 22 so we have many years to put in the hard work.

“Our favourite saying which always helps on a bad, wet and windy day is: ‘Always remember, never say what if’.”

In addition to the Zwartbels, the flock now consists of Suffolks and Texels to produce rams with a big carcass for commercial farmers and Blue-Faced Leicesters are kept to produce rams for Scottish Black-Faced sheep which will go on to breed mules.

Originally from Holland, Zwartbles are known as being good mothers. They have a wide pelvis for easy lambing and produce large quantities of milk for their lambs. They are docile and easy to handle, all with strong personalities.

Sarah said: “This year, we will be using a Zwartble home bred ram to put with our gimmers, and our Zwartble ewes will be implanted with embryos from our Suffolks using AI.

“We have a further two Zwarble Shearling rams which will be sold at a society sale at Carlisle mart.”

Sarah and David’s most recent purchase was 40 ram lambs from the Flodden flock, which sadly was sold up last year. Sarah brought them to the farm in November where they have received a great deal of love and care.

They will be sold on in September, 20 at their first visit to Kelso Ram Sales on September 9, the area’s biggest ram sale which attracts buyers from all over the world.

The remainder will be sold at Hexham Ram Sales along with two home bred Texels and one home-bred Blue-Faced Leicester.

Sarah says: “These Flodden ram lambs have to be our best purchase.

“They are very impressive sheep and it will make us very happy to have had the experience of getting them in perfect condition for the sale day.

“Nerves will be high but we will be happy to have had the opportunity. All I can say – a great flock.”

The sheep will be on show at the Glendale Show on Monday, August 29.

For further information on the event or on how to enter the sheep and other livestock classes, please visit www.glendaleshow.com, telephone the show secretary on 01668 283868 or email info@glendaleshow.com