AS the year moves on at an alarmingly rapid pace, the time has all too quickly come round for Castlewellan Blackface Sheep Breeders again to start making preparations for its annual sale, which is only a matter of weeks away in Hilltown on Wednesday, September 11.
The success of the recent Blackface National Show, which was held at Ballymena, has put the spotlight firmly back on Blackface sheep and their position at the top of the summit of the pyramid of stratification of the British and Irish sheep industry.
The harsh hill areas such as the Mournes and Slieve Croob produce a reservoir of quality Blackface females, which are drafted to marginal or lowland farms either as ewe lambs or four or five year old ewes, where they are crossed with various breeds, including the Bluefaced Leicester, to produce the much sought after Mule ewe.
The local society knows that it is now vitally important to have a presence on the web and, equally as important, a social media profile. With this in mind the society now has its own website and Facebook page.
If you put Castlewellan Blackface Sheep Breeders into Google this will give you a link to the website.
A very useful feature of the website is a Download Document section where anyone can view or download the sale catalogue at the click of a mouse in the week leading up to the sale.
This year’s sale will follow a different format to other years. Over many years the sale has gained an increasing reputation for quality female stock and with this very much in mind the local society decided that from this year the sale would reflect that reputation and become a female only evening sale.
The sale will start at 7pm sharp with mule ewe lambs followed immediately by Blackface shearling ewes, Blackface ewe lambs and then Blackface aged ewes.