Christmas Classic breaks records

A butcher helped push prices to a record high of £6,500 at the 2007 Aberdeen Christmas Classic this week.

The event was held at Thainstone Centre, Inverurie, on Monday (December 3rd) and Tuesday (December 4th) by Aberdeen & Northern Marts, in conjunction with the Aberdeen Fatstock Association. Bank of Scotland Corporate once again headed the list of sponsors at the Classic, which is recognised as Scotland's premier two-day winter farming event.

The Classic prime cattle record price of £6,500 was paid by butcher Tom Hutchon of JB Penman, Crail, Fife, for this year's supreme champion, which came from exhibitors Watson & Work of Mains of Dumbrek, Udny.

The supreme champion was an April 2006-born, Limousin cross heifer named "Baillie's Orkney Cream". Bred by J S Baillie & Co, Sebay, Tankerness, Orkney, she tipped the scales at 536kg.

The Aberdeen Town Council Perpetual Silver Challenge Cup was presented to Neil Work and Scott Watson by Aberdeen's Lord Provost, Peter Stephen. In addition, a £500 cash prize was also presented to the exhibitors by John Taylor on behalf of Bank of Scotland Corporate.

The overall reserve champion was exhibited by Bert and Patsy Paton of Spott, Glenprosen, Kirriemuir - winners of the supreme championship last year. The 672kg March 2006-born Limousin steer - named "Jim Jam" - was bred by Mr and Mrs Paton and purchased by Archie Jess, of Matheson Jess, Paisley, for £2,600.

Butchers' Champion and winner of the Aberdeen Master Butchers' Association Perpetual Silver Cup, and £300 from Quality Meat Scotland, was Blair Duffton of Bogie Street, Huntly. Allan Carr of All Best Cuts, Cambridgeshire, paid £3,000 for the 538kg June 2006-born Limousin cross heifer, "Phebe".

There was another excellent entry in the young farmer classes, with Murray Rainnie, Loanhead, Logie Coldstone, Aboyne retaining the overall haltered championship he won last year. His winning steer was a 656kg March 2006-born Charolais cross named "Bandit". Allan Carr of All Best Cuts joined together with John Kent of Direct Meats, Colchester, to buy the champion for £2,200.

Meanwhile taking the young farmers' reserve, a 562kg September 2006-born Limousin cross heifer, "Charlie's Angel" - bred and exhibited by Paul Wilson, Wester Cairnglass, Golanfield, Inverness - was sold for £1,400 to G. Simpson & Family Ltd, of Bridge of Don, Aberdeen.

In the prime sheep section, the Norman Wight Perpetual Trophy for the overall champion pair, and £100 from the Bank of Scotland Corporate, went to Kirsty Watson and Ross Williams, Balmellie Street, Turriff. Their Continentals tipped the scales at 42.5kg and sold to judge Charles MacLeod of Stornoway, for £600.

Mr MacLeod was also the buyer of the best pen of butchers' lambs, exhibited by Sheep Park Farms, Bridge of Marnoch, Huntly, paying £200 each for the 49.5kg Beltex crosses.

Sheep Park Farms also produced the Reserve champion, two 54kg Texel crosses, which were sold to All Best Cuts for £140 each.

In the dairy section the Wullie Riddoch Trophy was jointly awarded to junior dairy champion Arthur & Susan Lawrie, Cuthill Towers, Milnathort, Kinross and Barclay Mair, of SG Mair & Sons, Kinnermit, Turriff for their animals which both achieved the same price of 2,600gn.

This trophy, which was originally presented by legendary dairy cattle dealer Wullie Riddoch, is presented on an annual basis to the consignor of a dairy animal which exceeds 2,000gn in the sale.

Also held as part of the 2007 Aberdeen Christmas Classic was the show and sale of pedigree beef bulls, with the overall championship going to R & N Barclay, Harestone Farm, Crathes, Banchory with December 2005-born "Harestone Balzac". The champion was sold to G & N Mackie, Delnabo, Glengairn, Ballater for 3,900gn.

The Simmental champion from W & G Strachan, Mill of Balmaud, King Edward, Banff, was February 2006-born "Balmaud Topper". It was bought by J Barclay & Son, Ardiecow, Fordyce, Banff for 3,000gn.

Wendy Willox of Hawthorne Brae, St Katherine's, Inverurie took the Aberdeen Angus championship. Her April 2005-born "Strathinver Bruce" was bought for 1,575gn by PG Milton, Mains of Allanbuie, Keith.

In the pedigree sheep section, the Texel championship, was won by A&G Howie, West Knock, Mintlaw with a gimmer by "Glenside Loneranger" and sold to J D & M Leitch, Feolquoy, Evie, Orkney, for 1400gn.

Showing the Suffolk champion were Messrs Henry Stuart & Sons, Davishill, Udny and their gimmer, by "Conveth High Flier", was bought by judge L Manson, Brough, Skeld, Shetland for 700gn.

The Charollais champion was exhibited by William and Carole Ingram, Logie Durno Farm, Pitcaple, Inverurie and their gimmer, by "Beechlodge Fitzpatrick", sold for 220gn to D A Douglas, Quoybrae Farm, Watten, Wick.

The focus returned to the young farmers for the finale of the 2007 Aberdeen Christmas Classic, when more than 280 of them took part in a stockjudging competition sponsored by Ledingham Chalmers.

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