On our last full day in Edinburgh, we headed out of town for another adventure. Knowing Oldest is a huge fan of animals, I booked the Alpaca Walk at BobCat Alpacas, just on the edge of the city center in the area known as Bonaly. This was our only pre-booked activity in Edinburgh: if you’re even thinking about it, do it! Click here for more info: BobCat Alpacas
So a few things to know about alpacas:
- They are as soft as they appear
- They are typically very social and stay together in small groups
- They are very photogenic
- They take a couple of minutes to warm up to humans, then become quite loyal
- They are (usually) sweet, mellow, and gentle
- They have truly learned the meaning of “stop and smell the roses”
Bob, one of the proprietors, met us along with group of about 10 others for the day’s walk. Bob and his wife Catherine manage a herd of about 50 or so alpacas. Each walker would be paired with one adult male alpaca for the walk; before our assignments, Bob gave us a rundown of each animal’s personality. Balthazar is a leader. Eureka and Amadeus are best buddies and will walk together. Artemis is mellow and likes to trail behind others. (I’m making up these descriptions because I don’t remember which was which except for our assigned alpacas, but you get the idea). Oldest was assigned Artie, a very mellow alpaca – and that is saying something, for an alpaca – who preferred to bring up the rear.
I was assigned Orlando. I just looked him up on the website’s herd directory, and I see that he is one of the primary stud males in the herd. Well, that explains a lot! I should have known….. while the other alpacas had large, soft, lidded eyes and sweet faces, Orlando’s heavier brow made him look kind of pissed off:
The group started off on our walk. Bob cautioned that we should expect a slow pace, as alpacas like to nibble on the roadside grass. Yes, yes they do. Our roughly 2 mile walk took over 2 hours, and mostly went like this:
Orlando, however, was rarely part of the social group chewing the soft grass. Like my Youngest, he chose the road less traveled. His preferred activity was jumping, eating and rolling, tangling his leash in the bristly bushes along the roadside:
Also unlike the other alpacas, Orlando took his time warming up to me (or any humans). He would duck away and snort when I tried to pet him. And he would simply not be told, pulled, or cajoled to leave those bushes. He and Artie both did, however, like to pose for the camera:
At one point, we came across a family and their dogs out for a walk. Alpacas do NOT like dogs. And when dogs were sighted just as we crossed a small bridge, we entered Alpaca Jam 2018. They just did. not. move. For about 15 minutes.
We finally returned to the farm and were treated to the sight of several newborn crias (babies) with their mothers; one was as young as 2 days old!
Despite Orlando’s stubbornness, he eventually let me pet him and actually seemed to like me by the end of the walk. Probably because I gave up and let him be his badass self.