North West Club report 2010

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by Ron Loftus

It has been quite a busy year for the north west club, or it seems like it for me, as this year I got married, changed jobs twice, had the first calves in my own herd and had a baby son of my own!

Our new year started in February with the AGM held again at Borderway Mart, Carlisle. The Chairman John Holliday was re-elected for another year, thanks to John again. Also John Peile and myself came onto the club committee and I agreed to do the secretaries job again, just for one more year! Council member Brian Wise drove over to attend our AGM to show his support and also gave a report on council activities. We all then had a meal at the end of the meeting.

Next on the calendar was the February Perth/ Sterling bull sales, This was a good sale for the quality bulls, there was a good clearance and average price was up on the year. Spending from the north west was Jimmy and Vikki Woods, buying Banwy Wonderboy for 9500gns.

Carlisle April sale was another success for the good bulls making good money, Champion was from north west members John and Elizabeth Peile, Pasturehouse Wizard, shown by their sons Jack and Tom. Wizard later sold for joint top price of 4500gns. Judge was north west member Allan Tallentire.

This years stock judging day was held on May bank holiday weekend, by kind permission of Jimmy and Vikki Woods and family, in conjunction with the Midlands club. A real good line up of cattle were a sight to see, the master judge for the day was Chris Martindale, he placed the well run herd of pedigree cattle very well, and gave the young members clear pointers on stock judging skills.

Three of our young members were able to go and compete at the young members competition at the Highland show, and did very well for us, Dylan Raymond was their master judge, and I was master judge for the seniors.

The show season was only slightly affected by the weather this year! It was a good show season for Allan Tallentire, winning the first show of the season at Cumberland and at the last of the season at Westmorland. This years society goblets were also up for grabs at Westmorland so were won by Allan with his cow Swallowhill Liberty. Gt Eccleston and Garstang shows were won by Denizes Nelly from the Barlow family, well done to them on another successful season. Our farm walk this year was held by kind permission of Jim and Patricia Goldie from Newbiemains Farm, Annan. I couldn’t make this event as I took my wife, Leah, to hospital to be induced that day, see Leah, cows don’t always come first! I was told it was a super day all the cattle looked wonderful, and we were all looked after by a super couple.

Soon after was the Perth/ Sterling bull sales. There was a fantastic show of show of cattle at the sale, North west members Jimmy and Vikki Woods sold Popes Atom to the judge Liam Muir for 5000gns.

On the 29th October Carlisle based H&H held the annual Boarderway Agri Expo. The club organised a stand at the show to increase the profile of the breed. There was great interest in the breed and had lots of visitors to the stand. The stand had a mixture of Simmental and Simmental cross cattle, some cows with calves some heifers and some commercially intensive finished bulls and 2 pedigree bulls. Thanks to everyone involved in putting the stand together and bringing good stock.

The autumn sale at Carlisle was soon upon us, the judge for the day was long-time supporter of Carlisle sales, Hugo Arnold. The sale was another success, with good number of bulls sold for the time of year. Overall champion was Chestermann Adam from the Gwynne family, later selling for 3100gns, sharing that price was Blackpool Angus. Top north west members were once again John and Elizabeth Peile gaining the north west club prize for best north west exhibit. The Peiles also won first, second, third and fourth prize in the heifer class! Top price of the day was 4300gns from Steven Evans with Ascote Auctioneer. Second top price was 4100gns again from Steven Evans.

This will be the last club report from me as I am handing over the reigns in February! Thanks from me must go to John Holliday especially over the events in these last few months as all my efforts have been put into my new baby son William, but of course its all worth it!

North West Club report 2009

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by Ron Loftus

It has been a busy year again for the North West club, our new year started in February with the AGM held again at Borderway Mart, Carlisle. The Chairman, Alan Tallentire stepped down as Chairman after 2 years in the seat, thanks again Allan. John Holliday was then elected as Chairman. Andrew Vaughan was elected to the committee and no sooner made it to the position of Vice-Chairman! John Wigham also came onto the Club committee. I agreed to do the secretaries job again! Brian Wise drove over to attend our AGM to show his support and also gave a short report on Council activities. We all then had a meal at the end of the meeting.

Soon after the AGM John Trafford stepped down off the committee, the position was filled, at the next committee meeting, by myself.

Next on the calendar were the February Perth bull sales, the last time at Perth! Splashing the cash again were Bill and Christine Heaps buying Allercott Victoria for 4500gns, who has done very well for them in the show season, getting Breed Champion at Londridge show and Interbreed Champion at Westmorland show. Our vice-Chairman also made his presence known at Perth by buying Ballinalare Farm Victorious for 5800gns.

Carlisle April sale was a success with the good bulls making good money, the sale average was up £1456 on the year! Champion bull, Hockenhull Wilfred sold to a new Northwest member, Paul Rennison for 5500gns, that’s the best price for Carlisle sale in recent times, and put the average price at £3636. Two other bulls made 4500gns they were Grangewood Valentino and Hockenhull Ventura. The female cattle were good trade averaging £1786; Top price here was judges’ favourite Midhope Temptation at 3800gns.

This year’s stock judging evening was held by kind permission of Johnny and Janet Addison and family, the Master Judge for the evening was Allan Tallentire, he placed the well run herd of pedigree cattle very well. In the open section, over 30, Rob Addison won. First prize in the under 30’s was John Wigham Jr. Unfortunately none of the young members were able to compete at the stock judging at the last Royal show.

The show season was slightly affected by the weather this year, Cumberland show was cancelled early that morning due to the river banks about to run over! Unlucky for Bill and Christine Heaps who made the 100 mile ride to find the show cancelled and had to turn round and come back home! This is where this year’s show stand was due to be held.

This year’s Society goblets were won by Allan Tallentire at Appleby Show with his bull Swingletree Willie. Gt. Eccleston, Chipping and Garstang shows were all won by Popes Princess Victoria from Jimmy and Vicki Woods, well done to them on another successful season. The Royal Lancashire Show this year, was cancelled due to lack of a site, it has since been cancelled for good, due to lack of funds, shame that 2 Royal shows ended in 2009.

Our farm walk this year was held by kind permission of Hugo Arnold and family, 23 of our members had a wonderful day having a presale preview, all the cattle looked wonderful, and we were all looked after nicely. It was no surprise to see all those good cattle making a brilliant average price; it was a great tribute to years of breeding quality cattle. Top bid from a northwest member was Margaret Addison buying Hockenhull Juliet 5th for 6000gns. Also spending again was Bill and Christine Heaps, buying an embryo calf of Hockenhull Girlie 13th by Glenturk Rolex for 5000gns, with its recip mother Hockenhull Natalie 26th.

On the 30th October, Carlisle held their now annual Borderway Agri Expo. This is mainly a commercial and fatstock show, but our absence has been noticed over the last few years. So the club organised a stand at the show to increase the profile of the breed. There was great interest in the breed and had lots of visitors to the stand. The stand had a mixture of mainly Simmental cross cattle, some cows with calves and some commercially intensive finished bulls and 2 pedigree bulls.

The autumn sales were soon upon us once more; Perth at Stirling had a good first sale, with a good average and clearance. The Carlisle sale was another success, Overall Champion was Blackpool Wyatt from David Loftus, selling for 3400gns. Top price of the day was Midhope Winston selling for 5500gns. Top price for a northwest member went to R. Carter with Gerrard Winner selling for 4500gns.

So after now 3 years of wet weather in the North West, let’s hope 2010 brings better weather! Also let’s hope the continued interest and enthusiasm for Simmental cattle gains even more momentum for this next decade!

North West Club report 2008

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by Ron Loftus

The Chairman, Alan Tallentire was re-elected as Chairman for his second year. John Holliday was elected as Vice-Chairman. Bill and Christine Heaps were also both elected to the committee. Then Rob Fitton handed over the reigns to me!! We all then had a meal at the end of the meeting.

Next on the calendar was the spring Perth bull sales, congratulations to Rob Fitton who’s bull, Simply Thomas, got a 1st place in the show then later sold it for 5500gns. Splashing the cash were Bill and Christine Heaps who bought a heifer from the Tillymaud dispersal sale. I then helped Rob spend his money when myself, Rob, Louise and Leah, not forgetting Thomas, had a weekend in Northern Ireland. We both came home with a heifer each!

Carlisle spring sale was a success with the good bulls making good money. Champion bull, Chestermann Titan sold for 3600gns, the price was matched by Derwentwood Tornado. Hockenhull Vienna also sold for 3200gns. Topped by a northwest member was Alan Tallentire with Swingletree Terminator, also Reserve Champion, sold for 2700gns. There was a very low entry of female cattle, top price here was Steven White’s Tirley Jemma at 1100gns.

This years stock judging evening was held by kind permission of John Wigam and family, the Master Judge for the evening was John Trafford, he placed the commercially run herd of pedigree cattle in such a way that his wife June won the open class!! First prize in the under 30’s was Leah Morgan.

We struggled to organise a farm walk this year, the weather and a couple of herds let us down, so it was decided to abandon it for this year.

The show season was badly affected by the weather this year. We had a stand at this years Cumberland show which was well supported.

This years Society goblets were won by Allan Tallentire at Dalston show. Gt Eccleston and Garstang shows were both won by Blackpool Viscount from J D & A Loftus. The Royal Lancs this year was cancelled due to the weather. Westmorland show was won by Rob Fitton’s, Simply Valuabull.

While I write this I am organising a winter meeting to host a talk from Merial on DNA profiles for beef cattle and also a talk from EBLEX.

The autumn sales are upon us once more, Perth was a good sale, with a good average for the sold lots. Rob Fitton did well once again with Simply Valuable, getting 3rd place in his class and selling for 2500gns. Splashing the cash at this sale for the North West were the Addison’s purchasing Glenturk Verity for 2200gns. Lets all hope the upcoming Carlisle sale goes well.

So after a couple of years of wet weather and endless disease regulation problems, lets hope 2009 is a drought year and too hot and dry for any bluetongue midges!!

North West Club report 2007

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by Rob Fitton

“Perhaps a bit more optimism than of late. Let’s hope it continues as the challenges of a New Year unfold” That’s what our good lady Secretary said at the end of the 2006 report, well challenges is not a word I would use for 2007 but a few I could would not be printed!!!

But let’s look forward and progress, things can only get better. We’ve been saying this for years, but I really believe it’s the Simmental time!!!

So our year started in February with the A.G.M. which was well attended. Bill Heaps stood down as Chairman and his wife Christine stood down as Secretary, what a wonderful job they both did and are a credit to the club (Bill said he wanted 12 months off and I have it on good authority he wants his job back) my granddad always said “1 volunteer is better than 10 pressed men”. Alan Tallentire was duly elected as Chairman for 2 years and myself and my wife Louise as I can’t type or organise would be Secretary for 12 months.

No meeting was planned so we all met at the Carlisle sale in April with reasonable prices set, Mrs A. Trafford with Rooklea Starwars getting 2400gns top price from a North West member and J D & A Loftus of Blackpool selling a cow and bull calf to 2000 gns.

Next on the calendar was the junior stock judging held at Mr. R. Carter of Gerrard House, this being a excellent evening with over 40 members attending young and old, we saw some wonderful cattle. The junior teams were picked and tickets were allocated for the Royal Show. Well done to every one who took part especially to Ron Loftus and Rob Heaps for taking home a prize!! You may or may not be aware our past Chairman has taken up a new sport of heifer wrestling with his first public appearance being at the Great Eccleston show. Luckily neither Bill nor the heifer were seriously hurt but for his first round it is 1 – 0 to the heifer.

The summer show season has been hit and miss with more miss than hit with plenty being cancelled due to the weather and recent restrictions, Great Eccleston had a good turn out despite, yet again, the weather with the Supreme Champion going to Simply Topbull for Robert Fitton, and Bill Heaps in his absence coming Reserve with Rosten Seamus. Cumberland Show was well attended and we have been told that everyone had a great day. Congratulations to Bob Carter who won Champion with Gerrard Tucker and to J B & E L Peile who won Reserve with Pasture House Malteser’s Polly.

The summer farm walk was held at Mr. & Mrs Smith, Moorside herd, North Yorkshire. It was held with the North East Club and every one who attend had a really enjoyable time.

While writing this, hopefully we have a good Perth and Carlisle sales! We have a meeting planned with Schering Plough at Penrith and the Christmas dinner at the Crooklands. We wish everyone a better 2008 than we have had in 2007.

North West Club report 2006

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by Christine Heaps

The February AGM at Carlisle was very poorly attended this year, although we did receive a record number of apologies! I understand that it clashed with the football, & the romantics amongst our members were celebrating Valentines Day, so I will try to arrange a better date next time. Guest speaker David Pigney, agricultural engineer from Appleby, gave a really interesting talk about his family firm, and had us in stitches as he told of ‘on-farm emergencies’ he had attended in his role as a ‘Retained Fire-Fighter’. What a shame we didn’t have a room full of people, as he was really good, in fact Robert Carter was heard to say he was the best we had ever had. (Maybe he was under the influence of St Valentine – he was certainly in good form!). Bill Heaps was again elected to serve as Chairman, & Alan Tallentire as Vice-Chairman. Rob Addison, Robert Carter & John Holliday were elected as new committee members, and thanks were expressed to John Morton, Chris Addison & John Trafford for their work over the last five years. John Trafford was co-opted back on to the Committee as he is our representative on Council.

In March, Penrith auction held a Spring Special, with a show of haltered cattle on the Sunday, & store sale on the Monday. Drifting snow on Sunday prevented Fiona from setting off from Dumfries, but our intrepid Chairman & Secretary braved the elements to raise awareness of the Simmental breed, erecting the club display board & promotional material which Fiona had obtained for us. Society sponsorship of £100 went to the highest priced Simmental X on the Monday – sold by T. Taylor, Crackenthorpe, Appleby. Hopefully there will be more Simmental entries next year. Watch out for it!

The Spring Show & Sale at Carlisle in April proved to be a successful day, with Judge Ron Loftus (Blackpool herd) picking the winners from an impressive line-up of Simmentals. Trade was good, and almost all the entries sold to new homes at respectable prices. Supreme Champion, Holtstead Lydia, from F & J Andrews, Holmfirth, sold for 2000gns. Top price bull at 3100gns was Astcote Sparrow Hawk, from Stephen Evans, Towcester. Close behind at 2800gns was Simply Rudolph, a Slievenagh Fantastic bull out of Rosten Horsfield, from Robert Fitton, Westhoughton, Bolton. Robert has only just become a member of the NW club, but has been breeding Simmentals for quite a few years.

The NW club Perpetual Trophy for the best animal exhibited by a club member went this year to John Irving, Houghton, Carlisle. His bull, Edenbank Raymond, by Innerwick Grenadier out of Edenbank Empress, sold for 2200gns, and John also took home the engraved whiskey glasses presented by the NW club. I’m sure a celebratory drink would be in order that night. Well done John.

The NW Club’s Monthly Award scheme for the top-priced Simmental sired animals sold at auction between October and March was again well supported, with nine markets taking part. Mr Paul Stamper, Rose Farm, Little Broughton, Cockermouth, sold the top-priced store at £735 at Penrith Auction, and Mr Fred Turner, Silver Hill Farm, Broad Lane, Rochdale, the top-priced calf at £245 at Gisburn Auction. As well as their prize money, they each received a prestigious Simmental bodywarmer, and were featured in the farming press. NW member John Holliday had the top- priced store in December, but not the overall top, – better luck next time!

Borderway Mart, Carlisle, on the 2nd of June was this year’s venue for Beef Expo 2006, and the NW Club found itself involved with Fiona, setting up and manning the Simmental stand. Promoting the versatility of the breed, Fiona and Council members had sourced from the North West club and from further north, different combination of quality Simmental crosses. We had cows and calves, bull beef, and organic beef on show, as well as some showy young pedigree bulls. We had a fair amount of interest in the cattle, which was quite an achievement in what is primarily ‘Limousin country’.

Our Annual Stockjudging was held in June at High Grisburne, Appleby – home of the Swingletree herd and despite my directions (to leave the M6 at J28 Leyland instead of J38 Tebay !) we had a good turnout of members – both young and not so young. Our thanks went to Vice-Chairman Alan Tallentire, who had been busy preparing for our visit. His cattle were a credit to him, and thanks also to Alan’s Mum and Dad, who made us very welcome. They provided a lovely afternoon tea to go with the perfect sunny day, and our raffle raised £56 for club funds. Master Judge was Mr Chris Addison, and help was at hand for the scoring from Yvonne, Juliet and Wendy, who quickly and efficiently identified the winners. Top scores went to Wendy Black and Robert Murdock (Jt 1st) and John Peile and Leah Morgan (Jt 2nd). In the Juniors, Becky Holliday came 1st, Richard Sanders 2nd, Martin Holliday 3rd, closely followed by the junior Peiles and Addisons. It was smashing to see so many of the young members taking part, and very encouraging for the future.

Young Judges - Royal Show

The under 21’s teams who went on to represent the NW at the Royal show in July were Becky and Vicky Holliday, and Richard Sanders and Martin Holliday. A first time at the Royal for all of them, and up against seasoned opposition, they were a credit to the NW Club and to their parents. Having each travelled a great distance, they arrived on time, smartly turned out with white coats and big smiles, and all achieved scores to be proud of. In the under 30’s, Rob Heaps had plenty to smile about as he won the Individual title (Jt 1st), and along with Ron Loftus also carried off the Team prize. Twice in three years, the NW has taken both the Individual and the Team honours. Well done all of you!

Young Handlers Competition - Cumberland Show

NW members were out and about on the show circuit once more, and Chairman Bill Heaps was Simmental Champion at Cumberland County Show with his Challenger bull, Rosten Seth. The Simmental stand offered welcome refreshments on what was a scorching hot day, and when news broke that official photos could be seen of NW member John Jefferson, in his new, hand-stitched, Italian suit (judging the Royal show), people had to be given water, as the excitement was just too much for them! However the best bit of the day had to be the Young Handlers competition, where we had a record number of entries! We were so surprised by the numbers that we didn’t have enough rosettes to give to everyone. You ‘oldies’ had better watch out for these lads when they come out against you in the show ring in the next few years! The winner was John Barlow (Denizes) who received the Ralph Lloyd trophy from Judge, Mr Robin Bell. Well done to John, and also to Jack and Thomas Peile, Will and Hugh Addison, Thomas Barlow, Ian Blackburn, and Ross Pattison for making the competition into something special. Hopefully next year we might also have some girls in the competition - bring out your daughters!

Lancashire members and exhibitors came under the scrutiny of Wigton member Robert Carter when he judged Garstang show in early August. We were pleased to see Mrs Carter out and about again, and looking well! She had a ringside seat in the sunshine to see Jimmy and Vikki Wood take the Championship and also the Interbreed title.

The Society goblets were this year presented at Chipping show, where Council member John Trafford judged the Simmentals, giving the Championship and the goblets to the Wood’s cow, Popes Nelly’s Princess.

After the extreme heat experienced at the Royal and Cumberland, it came as something of a shock when we found ourselves on a wild and windy Appleby hilltop, where Bill had been invited to judge the Simmentals. Champion was John Addison with his smart young bull Lartington Samson. John was also exhibiting successfully in the Native breed classes with his Belted Galloways.

In September, Westmorland County Showground became a quagmire as the rain started during the night and continued all day long. Simmentals were out in force (and in mud) as John Trafford judged some of the strongest classes of the season in what must have been the smallest ring ever. Whilst having to dodge the dairy exhibitors, who had to pass through our ring to get to theirs, the Judge somehow managed to keep his cool, and once more, Jimmy and Vikki Wood took the championship and followed up by winning the Interbreed as well.

Farm Walk at Fole Simmentals

Also in September, the annual farm walk took our members South to Stoke on Trent, to see Joe and Rachel Ede’s Fole herd of pedigree Simmentals. What a splendid day we had! The sun shone as we climbed on the trailer for a guided tour round all the groups in all the fields, and what a lot there were! Up hill and down dale, Joe regaled us with facts, figures and pedigrees. On two occasions, he left behind the person opening the gate, and when we shouted, he must have thought we wanted to go faster, and gave us a ‘white-knuckle ride’ we won’t forget in a hurry! The impressive cattle we saw around us were evidence that his breeding, feeding and management strategies were working well. The delicious lunch we were greeted with was evidence that Rachel and her friend Pam had been extremely busy. Gordon Ramsey couldn’t have done better – and no swearing either – (apart from the odd mutter from Joe.) Having devoured the food like we hadn’t eaten for a month, we offered our grateful thanks to our hosts for a most enjoyable day, and set off home – a long journey for the Cumbrians amongst us.

Our October meeting at Penrith was well attended, with members bringing along friends from other breeds and commercial enterprises. Clive Brown, Regional Manager for Eblex gave a film presentation on Targeted Beef Selection and Handling, and the ensuing questions and answers covered a number of topics including the export market and its demands. Afterwards, with Peter Kaye unable to attend, we had the next best thing, from Bolton, Robert Fitton – Chairman of the Young Members Association – showing slides and giving us his account (the uncensored version) of the YM 2005 stockjudging trip to Canada, which everyone enjoyed immensely.

The next time we saw Robert was in Perth, along with wife Louise and new baby son Thomas, where they were on a shopping spree, taking home Woodhall Shona at 2600gns to add to their ‘Simply’ herd back in Westhoughton. Also ‘splashing the cash’ at Perth were Ron, David and Ann Loftus, investing 8500gns in Dirnanean Shane to join their ‘Blackpool’ herd. Hitting the heights from the North West on the sales front was ‘Pasturehouse Snickers’ a 2nd prize bull from John and Liz Peile, Wigton, selling for 6500gns. Whilst John and Liz were understandably pleased with the sale, Jack, Thomas and Lucy were less than happy to be leaving their precious ‘Snickers’ at the market! Demand was good all round, and entries from Popes, Blackpool, Annanwater and Lyvennet all sold well.

At the time of writing this, we are hoping that the strong trade at Perth will continue at the Carlisle sale in November, where we have entries from all parts of the country, several coming for the first time.

In December, we will again be celebrating Christmas at the Greyhound Hotel, Shap. We are looking forward to another excellent meal there and this time, we have as our guest speaker, Ernie Coe from Northumberland, who so impressed us at the Beef Expo dinner, that we booked him for the North West ‘do’. As we approach Christmas, there seems to be a bit of a buzz amongst Simmental breeders, perhaps a bit more optimism than of late. Let’s hope it continues as the challenges of a new year unfold.

North West Club report 2005

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Following our Annual General Meeting in February, the club now has a new Chairman, Mr Bill Heaps, and new Vice Chairman, Mr Alan Tallentire. The committee members this year are Chris Addison, John Morton, John Trafford, Andrew Carter, David Loftus, Ian Lancaster, Wendy Black and John Peile.

Thanks were due to John Morton for being such an excellent Chairman over the last two years, and also Elizabeth Murdock and Rob Addison who stood down from the committee, for all the time and effort they had put in over the last five years, attending meetings and working behind the scenes.

The Auctioneer Suite at Carlisle was once again the place to be on Thursday 28th April for the pre-sale supper. Everyone had the opportunity to meet our special guest the new Breed Promotion & Development Manager, Fiona Sloan, and an excellent meal was enjoyed by all. The raffle contained one or two interesting items and raised a grand total of £90 for club funds.

The Spring Show & Sale on the Friday, was judged by Mr Stephen Peile, Parkgate Hall, Wigton, and was well supported, with the average price just slightly down on last year. From the NW Club, R.H.Carter & Son took the Reserve Male Champion with Gerrard Promise, and W. Heaps with Reserve Female Champion, Rosten Betty, won the NW Perpetual Trophy. Walking off with the top price of 3600gns was Blackpool Promenade, a 19 month old bull from J.D. & A. Loftus of Kirkham, Lancs and close behind at 3200gns was the 15 month old Annanwater Rebel from B.K.Ryder, Moffat, Dumfries. Supreme & Male Champion went to Grangewood Pride, from AS & YA Leedham of Derbyshire, and Female Champion was Holtstead Odette from F. & J. Andrews, Holmfirth.

Next on the NW Club Calendar was our Annual Stockjudging Event, held this year on Sunday 19th June, at Mount Farm, Singleton; it was a case of good food, good company, super weather and cash being given away, and also an opportunity for everyone to see behind the scenes at the Blackpool herd of J.D. & A. Loftus. A lot of hard work involved for all the Loftus family, but every credit to them for a warm welcome and a super turnout of cattle.

Chris Martindale was Master Judge for the day, and top scores went to Chris Addison, Robert Murdock, & Rob Addison (Seniors), Ron Loftus & Ross Pattison, Over 21’s, and for the Junior under 21’s we had a hat-trick of even more Addisons – 1st was James, 2nd was Hugo, and 3rd was Will. The raffle raised £80 for club funds, and Guess the Height of Blackpool Tower raised £25 for the Young Members Association. The correct answer was 518ft 9ins.

Competition at The Royal Show Young Members stockjudging in July was strong, with the teams having to judge Belgian Blues and Blondes as well as Simmentals, and the NW didn’t come away with prizes this time, but thank you to Ron Loftus, Rob Heaps, Ross Pattison & John Barlow for representing us – better luck next time!

Good luck also to the Young Members venturing out to the Canadian Western Agribition in November, Rob Heaps and Rob Fitton selected from the NW area. Their skills will be severely tested when they are asked to judge not only cattle, but also Bison, Elk, Buffalo, Grain and Horses!

The NW Club has been well represented at shows in & around the region this season, with members judging as well as showing (but not at the same time). Cumberland Show was blessed with good weather and good entries, Judge Danny Walkinshaw awarding the Simmental Championship to R.H. Carter & Son’s cow, Gerrard Sally 11th.

The Ralph Lloyd Trophy for best young handler went to Jack & Thomas Peile and the Simmental stand did a roaring trade in beef butties and liquid refreshments.

The Society glasses this year went to Penrith Show, where Bill Heaps was the Simmental judge. Taking home the Championship and the glasses were John & Liz Peile with their in-calf heifer Pasturehouse Miranda’s Malteser.

Westmorland County Show, in September saw Simmental Champion JH & VG Woods’ Popes Nelly’s Princess beating strong opposition to take the Interbreed Championship, and despite gale force winds and heavy rain throughout the previous evening, the sun shone on show day. NW club members rallied round to erect tent, display boards and banners, and man the Simmental Breed Stand throughout the day. Not the biggest stand, but certainly a popular one for visitors.

Also in September, we were privileged to visit Kevin and Yvonne Holliday and family at Strudda Bank, Calderbridge for our annual farm walk. We were fortunate to have superb weather, and the views from their farm were breathtaking. The cattle – pedigree & commercial - perform well on land ranging from 600 to 2000 ft above sea-level, and Kevin proved to be the perfect host, not only informative, but also entertaining, as he showed us round. Buildings, slurry handling, incinerators, costing and funding, breeding, feeding and marketing the end product - he was a mine of information, applying commonsense solutions throughout. He demonstrated the advantages to be gained when farmers join together in a co-operative fashion for things such as contract spraying and sharing of equipment. We even learned how to tell a male tick from a female tick, which arguably may prove to be a useful skill one day! We finished the day with a smashing lunch, served up by Yvonne and family, and all of us took home a good supply of food for thought.

October brought the Perth Bull Sales, with females selling well on the Tuesday, some of which were destined for the North West - two heifers purchased by E.B. Webster, Skipton, and three by R. Huxham, Isle of Man. The trade was somewhat more selective on the Wednesday, with only about half of the bulls forward sold, and the buyers only getting warmed up when the younger bulls started coming through. From the NW club B.K. Ryder’s Annanwater Rascal, at 17 months sold for 4200gns, and W. Heaps’ Rosten Roscoe at 19 months, and with a 3rd prize ticket, for 1900 gns. Both bulls had been successfully shown through the summer, and both were sold into Scotland.

October also saw the return of the NW Simmental Club Award Scheme, which finds the top priced Simmental-sired store and calf sold in NW auctions every month, and rewards the producer with a cash prize. The scheme has received a respectable amount of press coverage, aimed at the commercial market, and we now have nine NW Auctions taking part and trying to claim the Overall Winner for the publicity it generates for their auction.

Congratulations were sent to Andy and Hazel Ryder of Moffat, on their wedding in September at Lockerbie, we wish them all the best for the future. We also send our congratulations to NW Club Committee Member, John Trafford, who has just been elected to serve on the Simmental Society Council. I know John will be working for the best interests of all the members, and for the future of the breed, and it will be good to have a NW representative to keep us informed and involved.

The Autumn Show and Sale at Borderway Mart, Carlisle in November will be judged by Mr Brian Allan, Glenturk, Newton Stewart. Having just sold his young bull Glenturk Rolex for the top price in Perth of 17,000gns, we hope he will not be too hard on the club when it comes to claiming his judging expenses or appearance money!

December will see us celebrating Christmas at a new venue, The Greyhound Hotel, Shap. It promises to be a good night, with the menu highly recommended. Open fires, mulled wine and food prepared using local produce – sounds good, doesn’t it?

Plans are at a very early stage for next year’s Beef Expo 2006, which will be held at Borderway Mart, Carlisle on Friday 2nd June 2006. This will be an opportunity to demonstrate the best attributes of the Simmental to the many visitors, and hopefully we will have a good show of eye-catching cross-bred cattle as well as pedigree animals. Fiona has already attended one of the organizing committee meetings, and will be ready to discuss how our club would like to be involved, and what we would like to see cattle wise.

As we approach the end of 2005, I would like to thank everyone for their help and encouragement throughout the year, especially the committee. Let’s hope 2006 brings with it good health, much wealth, and even more Simmental success.