This was a Christmas present with a twist….a lovely blanket made of alpaca wool, with a voucher for a 2 hour visit to meet alpacas hidden inside it! The blanket is gorgeous and sits on my bed, the visit was wonderful! I’m almost converted to being an alpaca farmer. He with whom I visited is looking into the possibility come retirement.
We drove down to Pennybridge Farm, not far from the M3 near Hook and easily found by our trusty satnav. I have always been intrigued by these animals, more friendly than llamas and so very cute. Essentially, we were to enjoy a 2 hour experience meeting the 52 strong herd and finding out more. We met the herd of girls, who are incredibly inquisitive, devoted to each other and endearing. There are clear leaders, Pandora and Clio, with an elderly ‘pensioner’ being looked out for by them all. With fleeces of incredible softness, though not waterproof, stroking the long necks with dense ‘teddy bear ness’ was almost addictive. And their gentle humming was adorable.
Once on the lead rein, Bandit, a youngster and ours for the walk, was off at a gallop across the field. He nuzzled every other alpaca in sight, including Inca Frederico, the prize alpaca stud who had the swagger and arrogance of a woolly Carlos Acosta.
Did you know there are 50,000 alpacas in the UK? News to us certainly! Apparently our European cousins (for the moment) are just discovering them and are placing orders, which means alpaca farmers here work to planned breeding schedules and are doing rather well at it too.
There was huge amounts to learn however for me the joy came in being able to engage with such charming creatures in Surrey, rather than South America. Will we go back? You bet can your alpaca mitts, we will!