The Airyolland flock of Bluefaced Leicesters was founded in the late seventies. I had been fortunate enough to have purchased an excellent crossing ram from George Ferguson from Old Hall Farm near Newton Stewart. The mule progeny from this ram were outstanding so I decided to purchase Bluefaced Leicester females to form the foundation of my flock using this ram. "Old George", as the ram became known as, got me started on the right foot and his influence is still apparent in the flock to this day.
The main focus of our breeding programme over the last thirty years has been to produce BFL sheep that are for producing mules, can't think of any other reason for keeping them to be honest.
Over the years, rams either produced by or used in the flock have produced 19 different mule ewe lambs to win the champion's rosette at various shows in the South West of Scotland.
Lambing has gone well and we are very pleased with the lambs off Airyolland B16. B16 is a son of W9 Greenriggs and is a consistent "mule getter". The returns were got by Airyolland C5 whose mules can be seen here...
Our Bluefaced Leicester tups are sold at Kelso as Shearlings. We try to use as many of them as possible, on the Blackfaces, as lambs, so that the buyers can see their progeny. Pictures of the Mule lambs some of them have bred can be seen in their pen at Kelso.
We had an early start at Kelso 2011 where we were second consignor into ring No. 15.We sold to a top of £1700 and averaged £820 for the 6 shearlings. Our top priced shearling, Airyolland C3, sold to The Duke of Montrose, Gartincaber for £1700.This was followed by Airyolland C4, selling to Glenalmond farms for £900.Mr A McGillivray,Achuaran, Lismore then paid £750 to take home Airyolland C9. C14 followed into the ring and sold to Hardie partners, Blackburnrigg for £600. The lot finished up with C11 and C1 selling for £450 and £520 to Messers J&A Wilson, West Kilbride and Mr DB Fleming, Biggar.
Trade was brisk for Shearlings at Kelso 2010 where we achieved our highest price yet for a Bluefaced Leicester Shearling. Airyolland B2, pictured aboce, sold for £3800 in a three way spilt to G MacDonald, A Minto and J Bell. This stylish tup was placed 5th in the pre sale show and was sired by X5 Riddings and out of Airyolland Y18, a daughter of homebred tup Airyolland W13. This was followed by another Riddings X5 son, Airyolland B3 selling for £2000 to well known Scotch Mule ewe lamb breeders Wallace Parker and Stuart Mitchell. This son of Airyolland W17, a V4 Wellan Draco daughter, had bred some of this year's lambs in the Airyolland show team. Three four figure prices followed with Mr Gibb of Threepwood buying Greenriggs W9 son, Airyolland B22 for £1200. Airyolland B18, another Greenriggs W9 son, sold for £1100 to Mr Dickie of Spango and for the same price Airyolland B11 went to Messers Glass and Smith. Mule breeder J.P Laidlaw of Knowhead took home 2 shearlings, Airyolland B5 and B15 for £1000 and £750 respectively. Overall the 9 shearlings averaged £1247.
Despite the fact we were first in the ring at this huge multi-breed sale trade was very good and we had 3 tups break the four figure barrier. The dearest was 2801 A8, a stylish tup with a good skin, sired by Riddings A5 and out of 2801 X24, a W10 Airyolland daughter. He went to Mr JK Hunter Wedderburn, Huntly for £1150. This was followed by his full brother making £1100 to The Duke of Montrose, Gartincaber. At the same price was 2801 A4 a triplet son of Riddings X5 and out of 2801 V11 a T10 Hewgill daughter. He sold to Messers McKie, Finniness,Castle Douglas.
Riddings X5 has bred particularly well with us and has been used extensively in the flock. These two tup lambs are sired by him.
3419/V4 Wellan Draco. Bought at the Welsh
crossing club sale for £3000 in 2003.
Once again we were early into the ring at Kelso but the tups sold well and all went to good homes.
Our top price was for proven crosser Airyoland D13 who sold for £1000 to L & E Fowlie The Guise of Tough, Alford, Aberdeenshire.
L& E Fowlie whose mule lambs were champion pen at the annual mule ewe lamb sale at Aberdeen and Northern Mart's Thainstone on 7th September 2012 also bought pen leader D4 for £950.
Mr GT Anderson, Fairnley Farm, Morpeth, who as also been doing well in the mule ewe lamb sales this year bought our next highest priced shearling D14 at £720 and also D11 for £520.
Another well known Mule breeder, A & M Craig from Walton Park, Castle Douglas also took home 2 tups, with D3 and D7 selling for £600 and £500 respectively
Going one better, returning customer, J & A Wilson took 3 tups home to Faulds Farm, West Kilbride. He bought D15, D16 and D47 for £620, £600 and £300 respectively. Drimsynie Construction Company took D6 home for £500.
The 14 shearlings sold averaged £570.
We have recently purchased G1 Orravale at Ballymena 2014 for 2300gns. This tup is sired by D1 Firth and is out of a Midlock bred ewe by A13 Kirkby Redgate.
We have entered 5 Shearling rams for Kelso Ram sales on 11th September. We are lot 30 in Ring 15
Due to the excellent performance of our Beltex cross BFL (Bluebels) we have decided to breed more of these easy fleshed, easy lambed females. Therfore this year our focus will move from breeding Bluefaced Leicesters to breeding more Bluebels. The remaining BFL will be crossed with the Beltex