Nothing can beat a bracing walk along Norfolk’s magnificent coastline, except perhaps doing with an alpaca in tow.
It’s a bit like walking a giant dog and this hidden gem of a tourist attraction turns a pleasant stroll into a head turning event, as you cruise along the coastal path with your very own Peruvian pet padding along behind you.
Ian Curtis, who launched Alpaca trekking at Wells four years ago, explains: “I had been looking for something a bit different and when I came up with the idea, everyone thought I had lost the plot.”
“I was well established in town with a horse and carriage business but this was something way off the mark.”
Four years later, however and with six alpacas in his stables, he is now reaping the rewards of putting his neck on the line to start something that is, quite frankly, a totally bizarre idea, but one which seems to work.
I learn there is a big alpaca market in the UK, mainly for their wool, which is prized for clothing, so when Ian went on the hunt for a trekking team he did not have to look far.
“I bought them from a breeder at Pentney,” he said.
“I started with three and added a further three after the first season. All boys, that way there is no funny business or bad feeling among them.”
Contrary to popular belief there is no spitting either. Ian explains the only time it might happen is when top dog Macchu thinks the other boys are taking his food on return from a trek.
Other than that, alpaca admirers can be safely assured that their charges will be mild mannered walking buddies who can be easily handled by children as young as four.
Arriving at the little stable area on the outskirts of Wells my 10-year-old daughter and her friend almost hyperventilated with excitement as they chose their alpaca for our two hour trek.
Collared up and ready to go Pablo and Costello trotted along nicely while a gentle tug sorted out Pepe the greedy alpaca, who had a penchant for munching all things green along the way.
Nothing, however, could wipe the smile from two very happy girls faces as we set off onto the coastal path on a bracing but sunny Sunday afternoon.
With Ian pointing out places of interest and the girls in their element as passers by admired their walking buddies the time passed surprisingly quickly.
People have come from all over the country to trek with Ian’s alpacas and it has proved a big hit with both locals and visiting holidaymakers in all weathers.
As a year round attraction it might just be the perfect antidote to walking off this year’s over indulgent Christmas!
The farm is open all year round apart from Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
Price per family per trek:
1 hour £19, two hours £25, three hours £32, four hours £40.
Call 07787 394088 or e-mail email@example.com