Tag Archives: animals

Llama Trekking in the Lakes. :)

llama1
llama Trekkers. Photo Y Allison.

Llamas are very sociable animals. Llamas can live until their early thirties. Llamas hum when they are happy. πŸ™‚ These are a few of the things we learned about these very interesting, gentle ( and friendly) creatures on a Llama Trek in The Lake District. Lakeland Llama Treks near Penrith in the scenic Eden Valley is a family business, with our hosts Mary and Graham running the trekking side, and other family members looking after the colourful and quirky Llama Karma Kafe. As Llama trekking has been on my Bucket List for a while now, I decided to commandeer the rest of my family in joining me for a’ countryside trail’ in the glorious sunshine on Sunday. πŸ™‚

Seven of us ( 5 adults,2 kids) assembled at the Llama Karma Kafe at 11am.  We were joined by another family of three, so there would be ten of us on the trek altogether. Five llamas were loaded into a specially adapted horsebox and we followed Mary and Graham a few minutes down the A66 , parking on a small carpark just off a country lane, where we would start our trek. We were then given a little talk about the llamas and put into pairs. Each pair was then introduced to their llama companion for the walk.

llamas 003

I paired up with my five year old niece imogen and our llama was this little chap called ‘Cuba’. As you can see we are leading Cuba with a double lead, one of us at either side of him.

Llamas come in all shapes and sizes. Cuba was definitely the shortest of our llama friends that day. He suited Imogen and I , being that we are shorties ourselves. πŸ™‚ The funny thing was, he really liked to lower himself down to our level. When I asked Wil to have a hold for a minute, Cuba stretched himself up as tall as he could!

llamas 017

llamas 016

We walked through the fields and along the river, stopping to admire a secluded 17th century church. There were plenty of photo opportunities.

llamas 006

llamas 013

llamas 012

llamas 020

Mary and Graham and our other guide ( I totally forgot to ask her name! ) were very knowledgeable about the llamas and the local history of the area too. When I had told friends, that I was going on a llama trek, their reactions ranged from ‘What your riding llamas ?’ to ‘Be careful of them spitting at you!’ but our guides explained these common misconceptions. Firstly, you can’t really ride llamas. Llamas are strong enough to carry all sorts of things. Originally from South America these placid creatures have been domesticated and used as pack animals by native peoples for centuries. They have longer backs than horses , so weight has to be evenly distributed. Overloaded llamas will just sit down on the ground. A human’s weight all in one spot, would not a happy llama make.

And yes llamas do spit. But only when feeling threatened. If they are used to people like these guys then they will rarely spit at a human being. However they may possibly spit at each other . Females will spit at a male who is making advances she doesn’t want and llama’s may spit at each other when in competition over food. For this reason ( and just the excitement of being together) the llamas are usually sent on treks in single sex groups. We had the company of the lads. Happily the only noise they made was a gentle happy humming as we ambled along through the gorgeous Eden Valley scenery. Llamas don’t spook easily either. As we walked back single file through a meadow several young pheasants flew up out of the grass. Apart from an inquisitive glance beforehand , the llamas didn’t bat an eyelid.

 

Our countryside trail trek lasted about an hour and a half and included refreshments at the end in the cafe. Situated at the side of the A66 the Llama Karma Kafe can get quite busy with passers by. We managed to get a seat outside the back where there is a mini menagerie of animals including a giant rabbit, a parrot and a couple of tiny cute marmoset.

The cafe itself is bright and quirky with a peruvian influence. There is also a gift shop so we were sure to buy some souvenirs of our trip. πŸ™‚ We each got a certificate for participating too.

llamas 029

I would definitely recommend Lakeland Llama Treks as a fun experience for all the family, or as a birthday treat or even for a Hen Party. Our guides were friendly and informative and the llamas were incredibly sweet, inquisitive and and a little bit mischievous. Most of all, I think they liked us as much as we liked them. πŸ™‚

The Countryside Llama Trek is Β£35 per person and includes an easy walking off road trail, beautiful scenery, interesting knowledgeable guides, refreshments at the kafe ( drinks and cakes) and a fun certificate. Suitable for all ages and walking abilities.

 

 

Wildlife Wish List :)

Mallards.
Mallards.

Another year and another Wildlife Wish List that I would love to capture on camera. I only started taking my camera out with me on walks a couple of years ago. Since then I have been lucky enough to see all sorts of wildlife……but I’m not always quick enough to get a decent picture. There are certain animals and birds especially, who always manage to evade my unfortunate photographic skills. πŸ™‚

Foxglove.
Foxglove.

My camera is pretty good , it is only a Panasonic Lumix with a 12x Optical zoom which I have had for nearly four years. Maybe its time for an upgrade. I like the fact that it is a small camera but maybe I should go with something with a better zoom. I’m rubbish with all the technical terms !

Green Woodpecker in Silverdale. Wish I could have captured his gorgeous colourful plumage.
Green Woodpecker in Silverdale. Wish I could have captured his gorgeous colourful plumage.

Anyway here are a few animals and birds who live locally but who scarper quickly when they see me coming!

Jay, Tawny Owl, Pied Wagtail, curlew, Fox, Roe deer, Hare, Lapwing, Sand Martins, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Tree Creeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Kestrel, Starling, swallow, Jackdaw, Redwing, Badger, Kingfisher, Hedgehog,

I would be happy if I manage to get photo’s of at least three of the species on my list this year. πŸ™‚

Bluetit enjoying lunch.
Bluetit enjoying lunch.
I did manage to get a few shots of Herons last year. Hurrah!
I did manage to get a few shots of Herons last year. Hurrah!
Peacock Butterflies in the park last summer.
Peacock Butterflies in the park last summer.
Tufted Ducks at RSPB Leighton Moss
Tufted Ducks at RSPB Leighton Moss
My fave all time birdy pic. A camera shy Red legged Partridge hotfooting it away from  the paparazzi. ;)
My fave all time birdy pic. A camera shy Red legged Partridge hotfooting it away from the paparazzi. πŸ˜‰

So if you see someone hiding in the hedgerows it may just be me ( Nerdy bird) hoping for that shot of an elusive Bullfinch. Lol. ;0)

Zoo Visit.

Its been a good few years since I visited a Zoo. Back in 2006 Wil and I spent a long weekend in Berlin and one of the things we did was go to the Zoo there. Unfortunately the experience left us both feeling uneasy. Most of the animals we saw looked very institutionalized.Some were exhibiting repetitive behaviour such as pacing up and down and going round in circles. It made us feel very sad. Wil said he wouldn’t be visiting any Zoos again. Animals are meant to be where they belong~ living in the wild. I can see his point. There is absolutely no better feeling than seeing wildlife in its natural habitat. When I go out into the English countryside with my camera I love seeing our native creatures going about their business. And twice I have been fortunate enough to visit a friend in British Columbia, Canada and view magnificent beasts in the wild such as Bison, Moose, Elk, Coyote, Black bear, Golden Eagle and even a Mountain Lion. Special moments indeed.

Some years later we have young nephews and nieces and friends with kids. πŸ™‚ When my mate Fi suggested we take her little girl to the zoo whilst our other halves were away biking I must admit I was pleased she asked. It would be interesting to see how the animals were looked after at our nearest zoo Blackpool Zoo. Our friend Jo and her two little ones joined us too.
blackpool zoo 020

blackpool zoo 012

blackpool zoo 005

blackpool zoo 030

It might be because it was a glorious sunny September day , but the animals we saw did all look content. I am no expert on institutionalized behavior so there was nothing obvious that I noticed. Of course there are probably so many signs I am totally clueless about. But we didn’t experience any animals looking distressed I am happy to report.

blackpool zoo 033

blackpool zoo 042

blackpool zoo 052

blackpool zoo 035

blackpool zoo 026

The children certainly enjoyed the zoo. It was Lydia’s ( aged 3) first time so the delight they took in the experience was of course contagious. What do you think about zoos ? Are they a fantastic way of conserving the world’s wildlife and enabling future generations to enjoy diverse species they wouldn’t normally get to see ? Do we in fact have a right to observe animals that are not native to our land at such close quarters when the money might be better spent towards national parks in their native countries where they can roam free without fear of hunting etc. What do you think?

blackpool zoo 018

blackpool zoo 007

blackpool zoo 046

blackpool zoo 014

Farewell my little friend. ^^

Its been a sad few days in our household. We have lost our sweet diminutive very vocal little catΒ  Tibbs to old age. For such a minute moggie ( everyone always thought she was a kitten because of her small stature) she had a big character.Always a noisy girl she had the loudest meow and a purr that resembled a motorbike. When she wasn’t scaling high walls and house roofs like a cat burglar keeping an eye out for other kittys food to snaffle , she was making herself comfy in my lap and gazing up at me with those huge adorable Puss In Boots eyes. She was so sprightly, constantly under our feet, and quite often recieving black looks from the dog when she successfully dodged his failed attempts to herd her out of the kitchen. No place was considered out of bounds for Tibbs.She loved burrowing herself deep under the duvet in the bedroom or any box or bag hanging around was of course a ready made bed put there just for her………

image

image

image

Hope you are in Moggie heaven now Mrs Tibbs. I still can’t quite believe your gone. Miss you so much my little friend. Xx