Alpaca Trekking in Scotland - How It All Began
"Darling, I'm giving up work to be an alpaca trekker."
Not words I thought I'd say to my other half, but nonetheless this is what I found myself saying back in the spring of 2017.
Social Work was taking its toll and I realised it was time to make some changes. I'd moved to Beirhope with my husband and grown up children the year before. Wanting a field for my horse (which became horses on move day!) and a workshop for hubby to hide in, Beirhope offered us that and more. The farm once spanned some 530 acres but had been sold off and in turn we were lucky to get a 12 acre plot. This included barns, outbuilding and this stunning cottage featured in the photo above. Our house was habitable - just.
In the early days we would look at the fields and steading and ponder over what to do next. We planned vegetable patches, chickens and maybe some pigs - real 'good life' stuff.
After a visit to the Glamping show in September 2016 we had our first introduction to Alpacas. I was captivated by them within 5 seconds; their quirky appearance, the humming noises, their inquisitive (and naughty) personalities and of course their scrumptious fleece. I could have spent all day with them, so calm and gentle - I was hooked. A glass or two or maybe three of wine later that night I announced to hubby that I was going to buy Alpacas. "Yeah right" was the reply.....!
So after a false start we met some wonderful Alpaca breeders and ordered our five boys. Tenzing, Graffiti, Yehudi, Monty and Sam arrived in April 2017 and my notice to work handed in too. All systems go. The lovely Debbie and Paul Rippon at Barnacre Alpacas were just wonderful with advice and support. Debbie did warn me of one big problem - Alpacas are addictive. And yes Debbie, you are spot on with that, they are totally addictive.
Sixteen months after we began this journey our herd has grown. We now have 13 Alpacas including two babies (cria) born this year. Its an amazing journey to date; we've faced the most extreme winter known is Scotland for decades, only to be matched by the soaring temperatures this summer has thrown at us. We learn something new each day, we have faced so many challenges I think we would miss them if they stopped! To welcome visitors onto Beirhope, to share our small farm and the Alpacas is for us a true privilege. The house is cold in winter and pleasant in summer, pipes freeze, grass burns in the sun oh and we emptied our water tank after a leak in a water trough but not once have any of us thought of giving up and returning to normal life.