Shelley started with Alpacaly in 2018, she was like a duck to water, she loved our animals, we loved her and so did anyone that met her… then we lost her :'( due to personal reasons… BUT she’s BACK and we couldn’t be happier. She’s perfect, SO ready (as if anyone can leave us!!) and she’s already back training the llama boys for full-day treks, training us to do handstands and generally filling us with good vibes and excitement for the rest of 2021… you will all get to meet her soon (if you haven’t already)… but in the meanwhile, here’s a bit about her!
I fell in love with the Lake District from an early age. Originally from Hertfordshire I grew up in pretty but very flat countryside. Our holidays were spent camping on the shores of Derwent Water with the mountains to hike over and the lakes to swim in and paddle on.
More and more I wanted the Lake District to be home and not just a snapshot in time. First agreeing that I would retire to the lakes then slowly that time frame kept creeping nearer until I just wouldn’t be happy unless I made the move.
I started my career managing print and branding projects but found myself saying I wish I had gone into a career in the outdoors and started spending my holidays volunteering to gain experience running mountaineering courses for the Scouts in Scotland. Realising that there was actually no one stopping me other than myself I decided to retrain as an Outdoor Instructor which is where I then worked for a few years until the call of the lakes got too strong and I made the move.
After moving to the lakes I heard about Alpacaly Ever After. I couldn’t believe that there was a herd of beautiful and quirky Alpacas and Llamas that the public were allowed to interact with. I had to find out more and see if I could get involved. I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to join the team in 2018 and fell in love with the herd and their individual personalities. I adore caring for the animals…making sure their shelters are all snug and cosy for them, giving them pedicures and learning about their medical care from the wealth of knowledge Terry and Ruby the Directors have. There is also nothing better than sharing our love of the animals with guests. Being able to facilitate peoples enjoyment of hiking the llamas into the hills and back to their roots or taking Alpacas for a stroll, a snack and a paddle is just perfect. I’ve had a short break from the company recently for personal reasons, but I couldn’t keep away for long am overjoyed to be back in the fold again.
I’m quite fickle when it comes to favourites. When I see the difference in one of the herd from when they come to us to how they blossom either in health or personality they often fly to the top of my list. If they’re in a nosey mood and come over to say hello, or their nose looks particularly boopable, or if I’m walking them myself they’re my favourite. But I do have a particular soft spot for Billy the Alpaca and George the Llama. Billy was the first Alpaca who marched over and rubbed noses with me. Billy is super nosey and confident and often keeps you company in the field if your poop picking or joins you for lunch. If that is not enough, he has an underbite giving him the most beautiful toothy grin. George the Llama is just a Gorgeous Diva and has the best strut about. As well as being absolutely beautiful, he’s also the first llama I did any training with.
Not forgetting Zombie…
If I’m not cooing over the beautiful Alpacas and Llamas I’m spending most of my time with the other four legged love of mine… My springer spaniel Zombie who is the perfect hiking and wild swimming companion. In truth I just love anything that gets me outside in the fresh air but more recently I’ve been enjoying canyoning which is a nice mix of hiking, climbing and my love of water.
When we can travel again, I’m looking forward to some adventure holidays. Maderia has some spectacular waterfalls that I look forward to abseiling, sliding or jumping down, and I’m currently putting some pennies away for a trip to New Zealand.
But it’s not just us that thinks she’s amazing… here’s what some of you said about her on Tripadvisor :)
“Totally enthusiastic staff member Shelley was a joy – her love of these animals was infectious and her knowledge of the personalities and quirks of the individual alpacas was as impressive as her more general information on Alpacas as a breed. Lovely to walk around these beautiful grounds with a daydreaming Alpaca called Danny”
“Greeted on time by our brilliantly knowledgable guide Shelley, set in beautiful grounds with a lovely farm shop and restaurant we set off to meet our furry friends. What a treat ! Having been introduced to alpacas Hobbs and Stevie Wonder we set off on a wonderful walk through the grounds, Shelley knew so much about the alpacas and we had lots of questions. They really have thought of everything to make your time with the animals very special, thank you all, we have some lovely memories of our day and some brilliant photo’s”
“What a fabulous experience! Loved every minute of walking Ziggy and Theo yesterday. What amazing animals they are. Learnt so much from our guide Shelley who was so knowledgeable and friendly. Cannot recommend this enough we will definitely be going again!”
“We loved our walk with Hobbs and Billy, and of course Shelley our guide. The alpacas were delightful, very docile and easy to lead (apart from when there was juicy grass around for munching). Shelley was really knowledgeable about the animals and quite clearly loves her job, and who can blame her! Feeding the rest of the alpacas in the field after our walk was a fun experience. Would definitely do this again in back in the area and would recommend to others. A trip to the nearby tea room afterwards is also recommended! Thanks again Shelley, it was a pleasure”
Wordsmiths: Rachel Kearns & Emma Smalley