So, to mark the start of August, a few of our clan took a trip to a hidden gem in the Welsh valleys to Amazing Alpacasfarm.
The farm is situated in Monmouthshire, and, for the wise driver, is probably very easy to find. However – however – we were not the wise drivers. We took two cars in convoy, with our car leading. Sat-nav was on, good tunes were a-singing and we were just a few minutes away. Then, down the tiniest, skinniest country lane, a flock of cyclists informed us that the road ahead was blocked by a sewage truck.
So, after some expert reversing and limited panicking by Mum, we made it back out of the lane (still in convoy, I might add).
Despite driving around the very familiar routes several times, reconvening at the same village hall once or twice, we eventually made it to the farm (albeit an hour or so late).
Peter met us as we got out of the car and pointed out the route to us when we asked if we would need wheelchairs. Although the site is suitable for wheelchairs (with a little tugging and heaving perhaps necessary at some points), we opted for crutches.
The first stop was to the ladies pen (plus one little fella). Peter talked us through their names, personalities and a few fun facts, such as…
- Their babies are called cria
- They live for about 20 years
- They’re rising in popularity as pets in the UK
- Alpacas come in two varieties – huacaya and suri. Huacayasare the more popular and have a shorter, closely crimped dense fleece. In suristhe fleece is much longer and hangs down the sides of the animal in ringlets.
After a little intro (during which the baby tried to dive into the alpaca’s water bowls and pens), Peter handed out some food so we could feed them. Initially, the ladies were not very interested in their human visitors, but the addition of food made us very popular!
We said our goodbyes to the ladies, we headed to what Peter termed his ‘maternity ward’. This was two fields of both girls ‘ready to drop’ and a post-natal section. I think my absolute favourite little one was Ginny, who was four weeks old. She was the fluffiest, softest, ohmygod-Icanteven-est things I’ve ever seen. Honestly.
We also saw a little one who had been born a few days previously. Peter told us that when they’re born, their mothers don’t lick them because of the usual high altitudes they live at. If they did lick them, they would freeze! So, to avoid any alpaca-popsicles, the babies get up ASAP and wobble around on their skinny little legs. Amazing.
En route to our next lot, Peter noticed the baby admiring his range of tractors, so let her sit up on one, which I think possibly made her year! She was slightly less impressed by the alpacas who she termed ‘bear’. When you’re 18 months old, I suppose they’re all one and the same.
We finished off with a trip to see the boys, who loved having their photo taken! They were wild, using holly bushes to scratch their heads with absolutely no fear. Peter harnessed Bras, a lovely grey boy who stood very patiently to have his photo taken, moving his head to get the angles in.
On the whole, it was a really lovely day that we all enjoyed! Accessible, informative and very, very cute. The animals live in really wonderful place and from what we saw, got an incredible level of care. When I’m rich and famous, I’ll be back for Ginny!