We are just back from a trip to Scotland to visit my sister and her family. One of the things that had been picked out to do while we were there was going to the Scottish Alpaca Championships. It’s not an event I’d heard of previously, but I liked the sound of it. I’ve enjoyed trips to cat and dog shows in the past and I wondered how an alpaca championship would differ. It was held in Lanark at the Lanark Agricultural Centre and was run by the British Alpaca Society.
We went in and watched some of the judging to start with. To be honest a lot of it was a bit of a mystery to me: the judge was talking about form, lustre and other qualities and I wasn’t really sure what it all meant. It probably didn’t help that we came in half way through. It did give us a chance to see how much variety in size there was even between alpacas of the same type.
Whilst the children settled down to watch some of the judging, my sister and I wandered around the stalls to find out a bit more about alpaca wool. There were ladies spinning, knitting and crocheting and we learnt a bit about that from talking to them. One thing that I found interesting was to feel the texture compared to sheep’s wool (much softer) and to see the effect of natural dyes on the wool like tea bags and onion skin. We also met the lovely people from Teesdale Alpacas and discovered there is such a thing as alpaca trekking. I particularly liked their lovely scarves and we were very taken with the teddy bears made from alpaca wool.
We then had a wander round the holding pens for the alpacas and got to meet a few of them. There were certainly some characters amongst them and they seemed like sociable creatures. We were sorry when it was time to say goodbye.