Alpaca Walking at Dunreyth
British Things + Photos + Places + Travel February 17, 2016
Valentine’s Day. A day to shower your special someone with gifts and affection. Roses? Chocolate? Candlelit dinners? Well, those are alright for some. But not for me and Katy. No, no. My lovely, amazing, hilarious girlfriend arranged our weekend away and there was no way it was going to be ordinary.
We took a trip to Chichester on Saturday. That sounds fairly straightforward, and was lovely, but it’s for another blog entry. I’m here to tell you what we did on actual Valentine’s Day. The real deal. Are you ready?
We walked alpacas.
(You knew that already because you read the title and saw the opening image.)
Late/early in the morning on Sunday (I think 10am is late morning, but K would beg to differ), we headed out from our hotel in central Chichester and took a taxi about 15 minutes outside of town to Dunreyth Alpaca farm. Here we met Bruce, who owns and runs the farm with his wife Peta. The other couple coming on the walk (yes, there was another couple) were having travel issues, so our walk was postponed slightly – if you can call being allowed to stand in a field with a bunch of alpacas “postponed.” It was absolutely lovely. I alternated between feeling the most calm I’ve felt in a long time and laughing hysterically at the concept of being surrounded by so many amazing, but funny looking, creatures.
Although the day before had been rainy, the weather was really brilliant for our walk. The trails were muddy, but nothing some boots couldn’t handle, and I think it sort of added a bit of excitement to the journey.
Basically what happened was this:
- the alpacas are called to a holding pen and Bruce and Peta actually offer a harness and leash to each of them. This means the alpacas basically decide if they want to go for the walk. Apparently if an alpaca doesn’t want to do something it just won’t. So you want your alpaca to be on board.
- we were matched with an alpaca. My lovely little man was Horatio, who looked very stunning with his dark brown coat and bright yellow leash.
- we were told about the alpacas and how basically they are really timid and they kind of expect you to protect them from things on the walk (dogs, cyclists, etc).
- we then took the alpacas in a queue walking up from the farm to a view point overlooking a valley. The walk took about 45 minutes.
It was definitely relaxing, leading my little guy up the hill and back. Living in Brighton, I don’t get too many opportunities to get out into the countryside. Walking around the woods made me feel a bit like I was at home in Canada.
After the walk, Peta showed us how they make alpaca wool and then we were let loose on the shop. I got a little scarf made of Horatio’s soft wool and Katy and I each got a mug with our respective alpaca pal’s face on it!
Overall, the whole experience was absolutely lovely and I would love to return again in the summer when the wildflowers are in bloom. Bruce was telling us that they’re setting up a little overnight sleeper accommodation… definitely something I’d be interested in doing in the summer, to see my fuzzy little friends again!
Thanks for reading! Let me know what you think in the comments below.
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