Friday, 30 December 2011

Oddity

we just managed to get a walk this morning, in between the rain.  Indeed, we just got home when it started to rain quite heavily once again, so that was some good timing.  Our walk took us along the Nutbrook Trail past Kirk Hallam, not a path we take normally as we have often had problems with the young offenders students (!) at Kirk Hallam School who take great delight in hurling either abuse or rocks at passers-by.  But, with it still being school holidays, we braved it and what a good thing we did.  as we walked along, my attention was drawn to what I thought was a very large sheep.  It wasn't.
Turned out, it was an Alpaca (Vicugna pacos)!  Not the thing you expect as you walk along a Derbyshire footpath.  What's more, it wasn't alone.  There were four or five of these rather handsome animals.
Looking a little shabby in the very dull, damp weather and plodding around in the very muddy field, they still managed to look beautiful with their long eye-lashes and smart 'hair-cuts'.
Originally from South America, they are a smaller relative of the llama and a member of the Camel family.  They are bred domestically for their fleece which is highly prized to make high quality wool for knitted garments.  Very social creatures, they are often to be seen among flocks of sheep as they make very good guardians, aggressively chasing off small predators, kicking, spitting and biting anything which may pose a threat.
What a great and exotic addition to the local fields and what a change from the usual ponies.
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