Blue Texels top entries for Turriff
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
Originally not from a farming background, Deborah Atkinson established her flock of Blue Texel sheep seven years ago, purchasing three ewes from Carlisle pedigree sale.
Now the Tap o’Noth flock consists of 20 pedigree breeding ewes based in Duncanston near Insch in Aberdeenshire.
“I wanted to get into breeding Blue Texels because they are nice looking sheep and sensibly priced at the time for a hobby," said Deborah.
"Mainly I wanted to get into showing them at agricultural shows through the summer months.”
The Tap o’Noth flock is having a winning year so far and Deborah hopes to continue this success when she returns to Turriff show.
She explained: “This year I got reserve male champion at the Royal Highland show for the second time, my tup lamb came first out of a class of 25 to then go on to get reserve male champion.
"My gimmer was overall any other continental breed champion at Fettercairn and my aged ewe got champion female and reserve overall at Echt.”
Deborah won male champion at Turriff in 2019 with her tup lamb who then went on to sell 3400gns at Carlisle.
This year she hopes to impress with her show team comprising of one aged tup, one shearling, two ram lambs, two gimmers, two aged ewes and two ewe lambs – including her winners from the Royal Highland Show, Fettercairn and Echt.
With the Blue Texel classes new to Turriff show in 2019, this is only the second year they have featured, following the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 shows.
However, the section has become the biggest at the show this year with 63 entries.
“I think the breed has grown in popularity over the years because of their quality of carcass, easy to flesh, easy to handle and easy to lamb.
"They are now quite popular commercially whereas before they were less well known.
"They’re a great starter sheep and ideal for families looking to start with a few.”
Deborah is looking forward to competing at Turriff again this year and feels it is important to support local shows like Turriff especially when they have put on a Blue Texel class.
“A lot of time, effort and volunteering goes into making sure the show goes ahead and runs smoothly so if you can show, then I think you should.
"Showing is my hobby and the reason I got into breeding the Blue Texels, it’s great for promoting my flock and the breed.
"All of the shows are a huge shop window to hopefully create some future interest.”
Deborah wants to continue breeding the best quality of Blue Texel that she can and continue to promote the breed through her love of showing – which she says is the best bit.