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Say hello to the ‘Blacknose Beauties’

It has been announced today that the Valais Blacknose Sheep Society is to host the UK’s very first National Show and Sale dedicated to the Valais Blacknose Sheep – ‘Blacknose Beauties’.


Joint President of The Valais Blacknose Sheep Society Jennie McAllister with her Valais Blacknose (courtesy Leanne Bolger)

It has been announced today that the Valais Blacknose Sheep Society UK is to host the UK’s very first National Show and Sale dedicated to the Valais Blacknose Sheep – ‘Blacknose Beauties’. This, their first ever Valais Blacknose National Show and Sale will be held at Harrison & Hetherington’s Borderway Mart, Carlisle, on Saturday 20th August 2016.

‘Blacknose Beauties’ will commence at 10:00am, and will include free admission and parking for all visitors.

Showcasing the very best of the renowned Swiss breed, this will be a highly spectacular event which the society have formed by combining elements from elite Swiss shows such as Miss Visp and Widdermarkt which are known to attract visitors in their thousands. Alongside the show and sale, as part of the ‘Blacknose Beauties’ event, there will be a grand parade of the Valais Blacknose sheep, and a variety of exhibitors providing the latest industry information on breeding and genetics, as well as, nutrition and up-to-date technical developments.

It is anticipated that there will be in the region of 120 entries, with 16 classes in total. Included are classes for Ewes and Rams, as well as, a Young Handlers class and Overall Championships classes. As with the Swiss ‘Miss Visp’ competition, class winners will receive a traditional Swiss cow bell. The winners of each class will then compete to take home the Supreme Champion title.

Judging the show classes and grading of sheep will be carried out by a delegation of Valais Blacknose Sheep Society judges who are visiting the UK from Switzerland especially to do the honours.

On announcing details of this brand new showcase for the Valais Blacknose Sheep, Jamie Wood, Blacknose breeder and a co-director of the Valais Blacknose Society, said: “We have full support from the Swiss Blacknose Society and are very lucky to have their professional graders and judges over to advise us. Their wealth of knowledge is outstanding and is what inspired us to produce a show and grading system that has been used successfully by the Swiss for many years.

“Jenni McAllister and Raymond Irvine are also Co-Directors, and together in 2014, we founded the society. Having visited and worked alongside the Swiss, we wanted to make sure the breed, in its premature state in the UK, followed the correct directions and kept the genetic strain and breed standards that the Swiss have achieved over hundreds of years.”

The Valais Blacknose is a rare sheep breed originating from Switzerland, first recognised as a separate breed in 1962. A large framed breed, the Valais Blacknose is well adapted to life in the high mountains and has the ability to graze on the steepest, stoniest slopes. Growing in popularity in the UK, VBSSUK now has 32 registered members and breeders. The blacknose are identified by black patches on the nose, eyes, ears, knees, hocks and feet and they boast a fleece with a beautiful crimp. Although rare in the UK, the blacknose is a dual purpose breed used for their meat, and also their wool which can be spun, felted and used in various textiles.

Hosted by H&H, the UK’s largest livestock market, The Valais Blacknose National Show and Sale is an inaugural event for Harrison and Hetherington, as well as Valais Blacknose Sheep Society UK.

Class sponsors are most welcome, and in return each prize cow bell will be branded with the sponsor’s logo. Described as the ‘cutest sheep in the world’, these ‘Blacknose Beauties’ are certain to attract a large crowd spanning the length and breadth of the UK.

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