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Nottinghamshire Llama trek

In the early hours of Sunday 5th October the rain was coming down in torrents in Kirkby in Ashfield. This continued during the morning and we were all wondering if we would have to cancel. However we were very lucky as the sun came out about an hour before the start time of 2 pm and continued through the afternoon.

John and Vivienne Ives brought along four llamas, including two yearlings for their education to be advanced by the trek, and Katy Williams brought her white boy ‘Narner’. Together with my two girls we had 7 animals and with a couple of friends making up numbers we had 6 leaders. Unfortunately Barry, Jenny and Danielle Brosnan who were planning to add to the numbers, were unable to attend due to a Danielle having riding accident that morning. Fortunately no lasting damage was done to Danielle’s wrist.

We set off just after 2.30 and trekked for 2 hours and around 4 miles. Almost all was off road, along tracks and paths through an amazingly rural area on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire borders close to the M1. On our return the llamas were either loaded into their trailers or shared my field shelter while we had a very welcome tea, sandwiches, cake etc. and the essential llama chat!

The route had to be changed due to the wet weather to avoid the cultivated fields, which meant we retraced our steps slightly, but everyone agreed we should make this an annual event. I hope the turnout will be bigger next year as the location, being just off the A38 and 4 miles from junction 28 of the M1, is reasonably accessible for many members.

Nottingham Trek

Brian Haughton

East Midlands Co-ordinator

email: haughton_brian@hotmail.com

mobile: 0775 220 6481
30 Nov 2008 17:19

The Newbury Show

Over the past few years we have been to various village shows close to our home in Hampshire but this was the first time our llamas had been to a proper show where they would meet other llamas and stay overnight! Terry and I got lots of advice from Mary and David Pryse and Jane and Allen Brown who organised the event for BLS and we duly arrived at the showground equipped with 3 llamas, the llama cart and several bits of equipment which we hoped we could use to show off some of the training that Terry has done with the llamas.

Allen and David had arranged all the pens most skilfully and our llamas were quickly ensconced and started to make friends with all the other llamas as they arrived. Terry quickly discovered that Oscar far preferred talking to other llamas than showing off his tricks. What a surprise!

After a great BBQ organised by Jane we retired to a local hotel leaving David and Allen to bed down and guard the llamas (or were the llamas guarding David and Allen?).

We arrived at the showground as dawn was breaking to see a host of hot air balloons rising up through the mist to drift quietly away to the West – what a sight! The llamas were all fine although David and Allen were a little chilled after a night on the hard ground.

By 8 am the public had already started to appear and this heralded one of the busiest days I can remember. Everyone loves a llama and our marquee was one of the busiest in the livestock area. Crowds of people surrounded the llamas and alpacas. “Do they spit” “will it bite” were the most usual questions, as always! Michael Balchin did an excellent job commentating which added an extra zing to the atmosphere in the marquee. Outside Fiona Davis was busy showing everyone how to spin alpaca fibre and inside Mary Pryse and other spinners and weavers had set up a magnificent display.

We were disappointed however because our llamas did not want to perform, it was much more interesting to ogle at the public and the other llamas. However we were able to harness Mary-Ann and shut her into her cart every now and again although space and Health and Safety precluded actually driving round the showground. This was reserved for the evening after the public had gone home and we had a mass llama trek round the livestock area.

After yet another BBQ that evening attended by about 30 llama and alpaca people we were entertained by some folksy guitar playing and singing by Phil Davis.

On the Sunday our llamas had settled – finally – and Oscar started to do some of his tricks, sitting down on command, kissing the public, and picking up litter and putting it in a bin. What fun. Thomas wore his best Union Jack top hat and was much photographed. Even Mary-Ann decided that it was nice to talk to the public, especially when they gave her treats!

In between Terry and I enjoyed being able to meet and talk to the other llama and alpaca people – its not often one gets the chance to compare notes. We even met another llama driver, Michele Huxley-Campbell-Dye and her husband Russell from Wales. Michelle and Russell were also the well deserved winners of the “Michael Bassett Trophy” for “best turned out llama” at the show as independently judged by Mary-Jo Smith and Michael Balchin.

All in all it was a great weekend, with superb weather. Now we just have to wait for next year’s show – where we want 100 camelids to celebrate the show’s centenary…….


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