When we moved back over the hill from County Durham in 1999, we decided to diversify on the land of which we are lucky enough to enjoy occupation, and which had, for many years, been used for farming sheep and cattle.
Over a hundred and fifty years ago, Yorkshire mills were working alpaca fibre to make clothing for Queen Victoria and the Royal family; and it seemed an appropriate time for alpacas to make a comeback on a part of the country which once lay within the West Riding of Yorkshire. So, in 2000, WhyNot Alpacas, then boasting four pregnant females, was established.
At Ghyllas we have extensive old, species-rich pastures, of the type on which alpacas really thrive, on the edge of Cumbria's Howgill Fells, overlooking the thriving Book / Market town of Sedbergh; and for several years we have been privileged to have use of valuable extra upland grazing just below Baugh Fell at nearby Hebblethwaite. This has helped us greatly in our aim of producing hardy, healthy stock, able to thrive in more rugged conditions, as do their cousins in their native Andes.
The presence of alpacas in all these locations unquestionably enhances their attraction to walkers/visitors of all sorts; and has ensured that alpacas are now acknowledged as very much a feature of the local countryside.
Natives of the Andes, alpacas are extremely hardy and readily adaptable to most climates, altitudes, ground types and conditions.
Not surprisingly, in view of the lean, high country from which they come, Alpacas are undemanding to raise and maintain:
Alpacas are outstanding fibre producers. We recommend that you move to our Gallery page for pictures of some of the items of pure Cumbrian Alpaca Knitwear that we have for sale. Meantime, you may like to be aware that:
Alpacas are herd animals; and in our first summer, our fledgeling herd was increased by the arrival of one male and three female crias. The last of our original four girls died, a couple of years ago now, of old age (24). Like the other originals, whose offspring continue to form the nucleus of the herd, she had, we like to think, had a great life here; and she certainly did not owe us anything.
Although, for health security, we maintain a generally 'closed' herd, as our numbers have increased, we have occasionally brought in new bloodlines through stud males. We now sell animals, as breeding stock, fibre producers and pets, to all over the UK.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Each cria is intriguingly different and delightful in his/her own way. They are up and away amazingly quickly (as you would be, if, in your homeland, you could otherwise end up as being Mr Predator's lunch!). Friendships and gangs are quickly formed; and, like any other children, the youngsters soon dash off together to play.
The size of the national herd is increasing daily, so WhyNot get in quick and start your own herd now? We pledge to do our best to help you. There are many delightful individuals waiting in the wings for new homes, including many of last year's crias (both boys and girls) who are just starting their halter training.
So WhyNot ring 015396 21246 or 07812 158641, to make a plan to Come and See them? We are more than ever confident that both you and your children will be enchanted!