Dull days in short supply amid hectic sheep sales season - Jill Thorp

Jill Thorp farms at Stott Hall Farm, where she lives in between the lanes of the M62 motorway. Jill writes for The Yorkshire Post every weekend. Picture by Gary Longbottom.
Jill Thorp farms at Stott Hall Farm, where she lives in between the lanes of the M62 motorway. Jill writes for The Yorkshire Post every weekend. Picture by Gary Longbottom.

The sheep sales are in full flow and we’re busier than ever. I love going to the market, catching up with friends and seeing pen after pen of superb animals.

The breed sales are my favourite, generations of bloodlines and careful breeding resulting in fantastic stock. A real showcase for farmers who are passionate about their chosen breed.

Stott Hall Farm. Picture by James Hardisty.

Stott Hall Farm. Picture by James Hardisty.

John-William has become a real lover of the sheep sales. He took some of his lambs to Meltham Sheep Fair, held at Holmfirth Market, a couple of weeks ago and was thrilled to have top priced lamb and top priced Charollais.

He was quick to pocket his profit and equally quick to feign ignorance when Paul suggested a contribution towards his lambs’ keep. I can see a mystery illness starting towards the end of the week which will no doubt prevent him from going to school. The symptoms of this mystery illness will, of course, be much alleviated by a trip to Clitheroe Market, which in his humble opinion has the best café.

Another section of our new shed is currently being concreted, just in time for winter. The land has held up fairly well this year but the never-ending deluge of rain is now taking its toll. Like us, the cows and calves are looking pretty fed up with the constant wet and mud and will no doubt welcome a deep straw bed to lay on.

Jill Thorp gets ready for tupping time on Stott Hall Farm

What life is really like on Jill Thorp’s farm in the middle of the M62

After another long day at market, Paul returned home just in time to hear the news that some of his cows were out over at Farnley Tyas. By the time he pulled up with his brother, Casey, it was dark. Using the lights from both of their pick-ups they managed to find the trampled section of fence, round up the escapees and return them to their field.

It took some time and effort and the fence needed plenty of attention to make sure they didn’t make a bid for freedom again. Whilst all this was happening, some kind and observant passer-by had witnessed two dodgy looking characters (one limping from a recent quad bike disaster) attempting, in her opinion, to rustle some sheep.

Whilst the cows were fenced back in, the police were hot footing to the scene of a crime, desperate to nobble someone in the act of a heinous rural crime.

Paul made it about 500 yards down the road before he was surrounded by flashing lights and sirens.

Now despite Paul telling me he was frisked, tasered and handcuffed, although I’m not entirely sure in what order, the reality was, the situation was quickly rectified.

After explaining the animals were cows and not sheep and were most definitely his, he was allowed to continue on his way home. It is good to know, however, that there are members of the public who take the time to report anything suspicious and that the police act so quickly.

Our days seem to be filled with triumphs and disasters in equal measure. There is always something to make you laugh and quite often make you cry, but one thing is for sure, there is never a dull day!

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