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Arbroath Alpaca Business is Flourishing

An Angus alpaca-trekking business, which came about by accident, is flourishing.

David’s Hill Alpacas continues to expand its collection of animals, which are proving popular with the wide variety of visitors.

The enterprise – which has had many five-star reviews on the Tripadvisor website – is based at David’s Hill, Waulkmill, St Vigeans, Arbroath.

It is owned by former childminder Jayne Yule.  But she does have plenty of support from her family too – they help out at the venture when not doing their own regular jobs.

Husband Tommy and sons Tommy (23) and Benjamin (18) are all lobster fishermen, while daughter Brodie (21), works for a local estate agent.

Jayne explained how the business started: “We have been at David’s Hill since 2011.  The house came with six acres of land.  We were looking for animals to keep the grass down and weren’t keen on sheep.  My oldest son mentioned alpacas and we started to research them and found they were gentle on the land due to having soft pads on their feet.  They just seemed to be a perfect fit for us.

“We originally bought our first four alpacas just as pets.  We built a shelter in our garden and the alpacas had part of our land fenced off, but as we got more of them we built extra shelters and fenced off most of our land.

“We quickly found that the public were very interested in meeting them.  They were coming down to see the alpacas over the fence and asking if we did farm visits.  We decided that we would start our trekking experiences, so it could help with feeding and vet bills.

“Alpacas originate from Peru, Chile and Bolivia.  They are very gentle and easy to handle and can be halter-trained easily.  They are also hardy and relatively problem-free.

“But alpacas are herd animals and should be kept in groups of three or more.  They also need to be sheared once a year.”

David’s Hill Alpacas started trading in 2019 just a few months after the alpacas arrived.

Jayne said they were shocked at the high level of public interest.

“We quickly book up during school holidays and weekends always book up fast.  We do two treks a day with up to six alpacas on each walk.

“After the mini trek, visitors get to meet the whole herd before needle felting craft working with the alpaca fleece.

“We have had people from all over the world.  There is no typical visitor – they include the likes of families with children, adult groups, mental-health groups and college visits.

“Everyone lets me know what a great time they have had.  We’ve had a fantastic response to our trekking experience.

“The venture has well and truly exceeded our expectations.”

The collection of animals at David’s Hill continues to grow.

There are currently seven female alpacas, with three babies due this summer.

In addition, three pygmy goats have been added.

Jayne added: “The goats are already a big hit with visitors, and we also have 14 chickens that children love collecting the eggs from.

“We plan to add more alpacas and do more work wit their fleece.

“We just opened our new gift shop craft area selling alpaca products and our very popular felting kit.

“Also, my husband plans on retiring in five years’ time and joining me in working with the alpacas.”

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