Have you herd the news? There’s an alpacalypse in Northumberland…The air was cold, the atmosphere grey and rain poured from the sky. But not even the weather could dampen my spirits, for it was time to tick something off my bucket list; I was ready to walk a herd of alpacas in the heart of Northumberland.
Ideally the weather would have been glorious, but when you live in the North of England, over time you become realistic and ensure that you have a variety of raincoats hanging in your wardrobe. I opted for one with a fur cuffed hood so I could blend in with the merry herd.
We set off in the car to Kielder accompanied by our trusty satnav, a granola bar and the sound of Steve and Karen of Metro Radio providing the entertainment.
A short while later we arrived in the sleepy village of Falstone, on the edge of Kielder Forest. Just beyond the small stone bridge that crosses the meandering burn is the peaceful village filled with cosy cottages, traditional country pubs and a gang a furry friends.
We pulled up to Ferny Rigg and were greeted by a cacophony of animal sounds; chickens clucking, birds singing and alpacas… alpaca-ing? Shortly after, Caroline appeared to say hello and introduce us to the gang who we’d soon be taking out into the fields for an alpaca adventure!
Leads in hand, we headed over to the pens to get the gang geared up for our walk, where the gorgeous girls, Bellatrix, Primrose and Katniss, stood to the left. Beautiful and fearless in equal measure, with names like that! To the right stood the boys, Bilbo, Maverick and Merlin; with the mischievous looks on their faces we just knew we were in for quite the escapade!
Leader of the gang Bilbo lead the way with the rest of following behind. We’d listened carefully to the health and safety announcement from Dave and Caroline before boarding the alpaca train and knew not to stand directly behind our fluffy friends, they prefer you by their side so they can lean over and give you smooches at any opportunity.
As we explored the farmers’ fields, that weaved beside the peaceful trickling of Falstone Burn, Caroline told us stories about the alpacas and taught us facts like these: there are only two breeds of alpacas, their fur is water resistant and they’re ANCIENT, dating back to the Inca period to be exact. No need to thank me when these useful nuggets come in handy at your next pub quiz…
Recently our star blogger, Jenni, put together a blog on Mindfulness in Northumberland and featured Alpaca Walks as one of the top ways to relax and unwind and give yourself those moments of pure calm. Having suffered from anxiety for many years, I’ve always found that a walk in the great outdoors really helps me to find some inner calm. Adding alpacas to the mix provided a welcome feeling of love and comfort to my moment of mindfulness. There’s something about having a furry friend by your side, whilst walking in the peaceful Northumberland countryside, that gives you an added sense of calm, and helps your thoughts slow down to a more manageable pace.
Once we’d done a full loop of the fields, we headed back to base for a freshly prepared, locally sourced Ferny Rigg Alpaca Picnic! It was filled with tasty sandwiches in homemade bread, locally produced pork pies, delicious cake and a bottle of locally brewed Fentimans pop to wash it down.
Cute alpacas, locally sourced and prepared picnics andan abundance of alpaca facts is the stuff that dreams are made of. My advice, alpaca your bags and head to Ferny Rigg fur an experience like no other.