SHEEP farmers flocked to Hexham last week to take part in the Blackface sheep breeder’s stock judging event.

Held at Hexham Mart, the overall winner in both the open and ladies class was Caroline Walton, of Allensgreen Farm, Bardon Mill, who beat off the stiff competition with her stock judging skills, scoring 443 points from a possible 500.

Describing the event as a “once in a lifetime competition,” Caroline said she was “ecstatic.”

“I never expected to win, because I was up against hundreds of other people, all of whom were strong competition.” she said.

“Although I’ve entered several times, this is the first time I’ve come home on top, so I know how hard it can be.”

The event was a family affair for the Waltons, with Caroline’s husband George also taking part in the competition.

“I didn’t come from a farming background, so George taught me everything I know.” said Caroline. “Although I beat him, we can both feel a huge sense of achievement.”

George said: “From the minute Caroline came on to the farm 16 years ago, she took a shine to the sheep.

“She was leaping around the fields the day she took home the champion title, so I’m very pleased for her, it is a fantastic achievement.”

The Waltons keep a herd of suckler cows, along with their prize winning Northumbrian Blackface sheep, which have swooped first place titles at Gilsland Show and the Roman Wall Show.

Coming second in the open class at last week’s stock judging event was another Bardon Mill farmer – Charlotte Storrow of Willimoteswick Farm.