Alpaca your boots, it’s time for walkies!
They are fluffy and cuddly, with cute faces and docile natures, and now you can get up close and personal with alpacas by taking them for a walk - not in their native South America, but in the Mournes.
The quirky visitor experience is run by Pamela and Peter Houston, who went from a team of two to a family of 13 when they decided to begin an adventurous new chapter in their lives three years ago.
Having both always loved alpacas, deciding to adopt one was an easy decision, what they hadn’t planned was to adopt a further 10 more.
Now, they couldn’t be without their unique family members and wanting to share the big alpaca love with the world, opened Cranfield Alpacas in 2019.
The pair offer an array of exceptional experiences with their alpacas, all with stunning views of the majestic Mourne Mountains, Carlingford Lough, 13th Century Royal Greencastle Castle and Cranfield Blue Flag Beach.
Not only can visitors meet the friendly mammals, feed them and learn about them, they are encouraged to take the alpacas for a leisurely stroll down quaint countryside lanes and enjoy the magnificent scenes as they wander with the waves on the beautiful beach at Cranfield.
Pamela said she is looking forward to welcoming visitors back to their fields.
“At Cranfield Alpacas, above all else, we want you to have fun and we want our alpacas to have fun too. Our experiences have been designed with smiles in mind, whether you want to simply meet and mingle with the gang, or take them for a walk on the beach, we have the perfect day out for you and your family.
“We also cater for birthday parties, group outings, hen parties, team building, corporate events, weddings, events and festivals. We are extremely excited to welcome friends old and new to embrace the special experiences on offer.”
Outlining the impact the beguiling creatures have on visitors, Peter said: “Our alpacas are full of personality, charm and the occasional moment of mischief and we wouldn’t have it any other way.
“We are excited for people to discover all the quirks of their individual personalities. Albert, who has a bit of attitude and thinks he should be the boss, is so sweet with visitors, then there’s our shy boy Wilbur and handsome Hugo our pin-up boy.
“Spending time with alpacas also reduces stress and improves wellbeing, you will feel much more relaxed and de-stressed after a trip to us.”
Alpacas are regarded as exotic animals in Ireland as the industry is still in its infancy here.
According to the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, there are an estimated 1,500 alpacas in Ireland at present.