Alpaca Trek

We were fortunate between Christmas and New Years to take part in a festive alpaca trek through Pentland Hills Regional Park organised by Bobcat Alpacas.  What a fantastic time we had!

Bob and Cath (hence the name “Bobcat”) were completely new to livestock rearing when they started out last year on 12 acres of land in Bonaly, just south of the City of Edinburgh Bypass.  After acquiring a small group of males and females, they began a breeding programme, producing several young “cria.”

It’s hard not to fall in love with such a big, soft, faintly goofy looking animal.  They are very gentle, tolerant and affectionate, if a wee bit stubborn.  Walking with lead alpaca Petros, meant setting the pace – always some version of “slow.”

The start of the trek involved quite a bit of coaxing and plenty of stops to graze on tasty foliage beside the roads and paths.  But stops also meant time for cuddles, taking in the views and of course photographs of these amazingly photogenic creatures.

Throughout the walk, Bob provided plenty of interesting information about alpacas – their history, uses, introduction to the UK, breeding, personalities and diet.

I hadn’t realised that the original alpaca were hybrids bred over 2000 years ago to bring together the biddable nature of the llama and the exquisite fleece of the vicuña.  The result is a delightful animal that produces some of the most versatile, hypoallergenic fibres in the world.  Alpaca wool is a dream for knitting.

Bobcat Alpacas is committed to breeding and showing quality alpaca to enhance the 40,000 strong UK herd.  They are also involved in activities to educate people of all ages and in all settings about alpaca.  This includes visits to the farm, alpaca treks and alpaca visiting outside events.  Some of the herd serve as therapy animals for stressed students at university.

So, if you’re looking for a different kind of day out without travelling too far from Scotland’s capital, enjoy a pleasant walk with the herd.  Thank you Bob, Cath and the herd for a lovely afternoon.

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