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Braithwaite Court

Cumbria, England

Walking alpacas in the Lake District? Don’t tell everyone...

Posted by Jonathan Broom on May 30, 2018
Walking alpacas in the Lake District? Don’t tell everyone...

Whether you’ve been there or not, chances are you know a bit about the Lake District. England’s biggest national park; lakes (obviously); fells; Wordsworth and Coleridge; Herdwick sheep; Beatrix Potter; Scafell Pike; alpacas...

Sorry – did someone say “alpacas”? South American camelids that graze on the slopes of the Andes mountains? What are they doing there?

Living a life of something approaching luxury, since you’re asking – thanks to Alpacaly Ever After, just down the road from Braithwaite Court.

The brainchild of Emma Smalley and partner Terry Barlow, Alpacaly Ever After started life in 2013. There was no real rhyme or reason to it; the pair just fancied the idea of keeping alpacas. Cannily, however, they built the herd over time by adopting alpacas from other herds whose owners were looking to downsize.

Today the Alpacaly Ever After herd numbers some 60 animals spread across two locations: the Lingholm Estate (where Beatrix Potter spent many childhood holidays) and the Lakes Distillery – the latter described in an earlier blog, which you can find by clicking here.

Alpaca fleece is soft, long-lasting, and luxurious – much silkier than sheep’s wool, in fact closer to cashmere or angora. So unsurprisingly Terry and Emma sell a range of alpaca-fleece products: from bed socks, to beanie hats, to hand-knitted alpaca toys. Or if you’re a keen knitter, they’ll sell you the kits to make your own. You can also buy a range of alpaca-related greeting cards.

And alpaca-walking vouchers. Because that’s what Alpacaly Ever After is really all about: offering you the chance to get up close and personal with these funny-looking, gentle creatures.

You can meet the alpacas at the Lakes Distillery on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. But for an opportunity to really interact with them, why not take a couple of alpacas for a walk?

Alpacaly Ever After offer private, guided alpaca walks, or mixed group walks with fellow alpaca fanciers, around the glorious Lingholm Estate and along the shores of Derwentwater. You’ll walk through private grounds closed to the general public, and spend 1½ to two hours in the company of these lovely creatures: taking them for a paddle (or a swim) in the lake, feeding them, and just generally revelling in their company.

Because – who knew? – alpacas are a joy to be around. Quite why or how Emma and Terry ever hit upon the idea of alpaca walks one suspects even they can’t remember; but it has proved fantastically popular. And it’s not just a fun thing to do; there’s an element of therapy to it, too – contact with the Alpacaly Ever After herd has proved a real benefit to the region’s troubled children, and there’s no-one who doesn’t come away from the experience with a smile on their face. Independent journalist Helen Coffey’s review is typical of many.

To find out more about Alpacaly Ever After and book your own alpaca walk, click here.

There are many treats waiting for you in the Lake District, all easily accessible from Braithwaite Court – but this has to be up there with the best.

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Jonathan Broom
Author: Jonathan Broom

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