Richard and Sandra decided on a new start, a change in life. We all imagine what it would be like but few of us actually go ahead and do it. They did. They moved from England to Glendale in Skye and decided to keep alpacas. As you do. That was how Hebridean Alpacas was born.
It’s difficult to photograph alpacas without doing close ups. They have such expressive and animated faces.
I have to say up front that we love alpacas. They are fantastic creatures. They are everything sheep aren’t. They are intelligent, they have character and you don’t eat them. This is good as people like us can keep them, get attached to them, give them names and ascribe human characteristics to them without being left bereft when they are sent for slaughter and come back vacuum packed in handy meal sized portions. You keep them, you cosset them, and you can talk entertainingly about what they did that morning without fear of becoming a blubbering wreck. Perfect for us.
Old Blue eyes. Yes, he’s called Frank. The blue eyes unfortunately means he is deaf and can’t be used for breeding. No fun for Frank. He wouldn’t be able to hear himself orgle…
Entertaining and endearing things about alpacas – They spit at each other when annoyed. They make a lovely squeaky noise. They also scream really loudly (the Glendale crew did this during the remembrance service was being held at the war memorial in the village. The embarrassing sound like someone being messily murdered isn’t ideal at that sort of moment). The male also make a bizarre noise while mating. It even has a name – orgling, I recommend googling it.
This is Hamish and his compadre Esteban
We spent most of our time with a group of male alpacas. The best impression I could give of them is of a house full of elderly gay gentlemen. There was a certain amount of bickering and shoving over who put milk in the earl gray before the tea and who sat in who’s favourite chair. Highly entertaining.
An advantage that alpacas have over sheep is they prefer rough grazing though these gentlemen didn’t turn down some freshly cut grass.
Don’t be fooled by their cute looks when their coats are fully and fluffily grown. They are big strong animals, with a temper and can deliver a hefty kick if they find it’s you who is in their favourite chair. A face full of accurately spat phlegm and half chewed grass is no fun either.
They almost define photogenic
Soon there will be baby alpacas in Glendale and you can bet on us charging up to see them.
We will keep you posted on when Richard and Sandra will be opening their shop selling alpaca products using the wool from their own animals. They really are living many other peoples dreams.
Normally if you were as cool a dog as this (a Northern Inuit) you would be at the top of the page but Poppy and her son Monty are resigned to being in the shade of the alpacas. Poppy is top left and bottom right. They are beautiful dogs aren’t they? Monty may look regal and leonine but he is a big soppy puppy really.
Alpacas are not camera shy and instinctively know their best side.