Driving round the beautiful Hambleton Hills in Yorkshire you’d not expect to come face to face with pack of friendly Alpacas on their daily stroll would you? Thanks to Beacon Alpacas, that is exactly what you can sign up for. We recently took part in an Alpaca Walk and now we are trying to work out where to keep one…..
On her farm in Husthwaite, near Thirsk, Jacki Barlow offers guided Alpaca Walks 5 days a week with her expanding, award winning clan of furry buddies.
Always looking for a “thing” to do for birthdays, Paul celebrated his 35th being dragged around the countryside by Cosmo a handsome 5yr old white Alpaca with funny hair. I had Frankel, a hesitant and hungry 2yr old boy. I chose my boy because he was just lying down looking all chill and Paul claimed Cosmo purely for his tufty white mop.
We arrived early for our walk and spent some time meeting the Alpacas and horses on site – you can’t understand how funny alpacas look when they are running!
As the others arrived for our Beacon Alpacas walk, Jacki paired us up with our animals for the walk. Describing each alpacas personality as she passed out the reigns, we all got a pretty good match. Before setting off in our small group we got to grips with the skill of leading an alpaca as all they want to do is eat grass! After a gentle tug on the lead we were off!
The walk is a very slow paced 1hr long over the farm and out on the bridle path and finally the road. There’s 1 hill to climb but then it is on to flat countryside before gently dropping down on to tarmac roads. The ground was dry on our walk so we were fine with supportive trainers on but wellies or walking boots would be best for damp days. Long trousers are a must as there’s nettles.
The views from the top of the Beacon Alpacas farm were stunning, looking out across North Yorkshire. Thanks to the slow pace and placid nature of the alpacas, there’s always time to stop for a photo or a selfie! We had to make a detour for the boys in our group to admire the females in the next field over as we walked by, I wonder how alpacas flirt?!
Cosmo liked to be in the lead, large and in charge and my Frankel was happy enough to be 2nd in the line. Of course we stopped every 10ft for some grass and a stroke!
Did you know alpacas are a protective animal? They will instinctively protect the animals they live with be that sheep or chickens. I wouldn’t want to be on the end of a kick I must say. Jacki answered all our questions and provided a lot of information on the breed. You can tell this is a labour of love and not just a money spinning business she has bought in to, she speaks with such fondness for the alpacas, it’s sweet.
As we got closer to the Beacon Alpacas farm on our circular loop, the previously slow lumbering alpacas certainly picked up the pace as they knew they get fed once they get home. If you hang round after your walk, you can feed your chosen alpaca and then venture out in the fields to feed the mothers and babies.
Beacon Alpacas website – http://beaconalpacas.co.uk Husthwaite is just off the A19 near Thirsk which makes it incredibly accessible from the North East.