Just when you thought that my life couldn’t get any more interesting, I went Alpaca walking in Yorkshire with a Science Fiction Book Club this weekend!
I’m back in the UK after an amazing few weeks in Iceland. Whenever I’m back, I miss the travel lifestyle, of course. So I do try to make the most I’m my weekends in England.
Stockholes Alpacas in Yorkshire
Stockholes Alpacas is about an hours drive from York city centre. You do need a car, as it is in quite a remote farming area without many public transport links. Les has over 30 alpacas, as well as a few other animals including pigs and chickens.
You can book an alpaca walk for £50-£60 per group (depending on group size) and Les will show you his other animals before you take your harnessed alpacas walking!
Andrew joked about me being a total city girl. When I was going to university, I don’t think I even knew that eggs were not fertilised, or what a butternut squash was! So, this weekend, I got to chicken for the first time in my life at the grand age of 35!
Book accommodation in the UK on hostelworld.com
Meeting the Alpacas
We met many of Les’s Alpacas, which were grouped with their own gender. There was a beautiful pack of girls. We met an adorable white alpaca called Lucy who really didn’t mind being stroked at all!
The group of boys were apparently quite difficult in the beginning, but when another ‘alpha’ alpaca was introduced to the herd, they calmed down a treat!
Alpacas are originate from South America and are predominantly found in Peru, Chile and Bolivia, but there are now around 30,000 alpacas in the UK. In the UK, they are mainly farmed for their wool which is much softer than sheep wool.
They are also show animals in the UK and used by people with large areas of land as ‘Posh lawnmowers’! Alpacas are very sociable animals, so you cannot own just one. It is important to keep them in pairs or groups.
Alpaca Walking UK! What’s it like to Walk Alpacas?
Walking the alpacas was brilliant. They go on a bridle, a bit like a horse, but they are smaller and much easier to handle than horses.
It’s strange – I thought that they would be really fast, but they are actually quite slow! The first alpaca I walked was called Merlin, and he was right at the back being really slow at the start – Les had to walk behind him to get him going!
After 5 or 10 minutes they get into it and start properly enjoying the walk. They are very particular about the order – they take the first 5 or 10 minutes deciding who is to go first and last!
They are very alert creatures and like to have a look around to see what is going on. They do get a little spooked by the wind and other animals (cows, horses and dogs) but you just have to have a firm grip on the reigns and they soon calm down.
Les was a great guide – extremely knowledgable about Alpacas and answered plenty of questions along the way. I never realised that they can be so expensive – the stud male is worth around £7000, and some stud male Alpacas can be worth up to £70,000!
Les also looked out for our safety, and, of course, the safety of the Alpacas. He sometimes would go in front at corners to make sure that cars weren’t coming. There were only the odd few cars going very slowly down the lane, and so we just walked the alpacas to a bit of grass while the cars went past.
When we were about to turn around to head back, all of a sudden, we saw all the alpacas start lying on the ground! There was a ploughed bit of land with dust or sandy soil and they just got right into it! It was hilarious!
Apparently, the dusty sand is good for getting rid of mites that might get into their coats. Now these alpacas were mite free, but they were just doing it out of instinct, or because they absolutely loved it!
After about an hour around the farm and then the alpaca walk (around half an hour to an hour? I’m not sure – it was so much fun I lost track of time!) we headed back to the farm house for some lovely Yorkshire tea and cake!