Bowbridge Alpacas ScotlandB941, Cupar, KY15 5LL, United Kingdom | 07484 778040 | Website
Lovely visit and a warm welcome from staff and Alpacas!
This review is especially helpful for those who have or use the following: Wheelchair, Powerchair
I had a lovely drive out to Bowbridge for the Alpaca experience! I have been wanting to 'mingle with the Alpacas' for years and got this as a birthday gift. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling my best on the day but I still had a lovely time! All parking spaces were used so I think there is likely a limit on how many people can be in a group and it didn't feel too big. There were maybe ten people in total. On arrival we are guided from the carpark to the barn where everyone washed their hands and then we all are seated (see picture) and the staff told us a bit about the organisation and the Alpacas. There wasn't space for me to turn facing the table. I appreciated that we weren't sat with a different group and had our own table. We were given a tub of alpaca food each as part of the experience and then went out to the paddock. There are 59 alpacas and they all kind of descend on you when you are in the main paddock, at first I felt really excited to be in with them! There were quite a few babies which were just adorable! At they began to eat the food some of them were "telling off" the others who were trying to push past to get the food and this was a little overwhelming for me for a moment as I was fully surrounded and they all seemed very big because I was sitting down, and they were not as docile as I expected. The staff said that behaviourally they are a bit more like cats than any other animals! I can see that now! I was encouraged to feed them from my hand but I preferred to just offer them the tub as my skin is fragile and tears easily and the teeth do rub against you, although not enough to damage 'normal' skin. The food was gone quickly and I held my hands up and the alpacas went in search of other food.It was a very easy going day, we were never rushed so could enjoy the moments. I rolled up away from the crowd and had a lovely wee moment just being near them. This part was fully on grass. Next we left this paddock and took part in a wee training activity over the fence which was fun! It was cool seeing the alpaca learn and know what it needed to do (harness training). We then went into a smaller paddock where I stayed on the path and learned a bit more about the alpacas and how they go for walks, then we each got an alpaca for a walk! I thought I wouldn't be able to do it as it was round a little obstacle course on deep gravel, but I was really happy to learn that my Dad and I did get an alpaca and instead walked them up to the barn! My dads alpaca wasn't happy to be away from the other alpacas and this was evident through little sad noises and some unhappy jolt movements (but not in an aggressive way and we didn't feel in danger) if you might feel anxious I would encourage speaking to the staff about this. Mine was pretty chill, his name was Balthazaar and he was a cool dude. One of the ladies came with my Dad and I and offered to take photos. It was actually really nice to be away from everything else and have a quiet moment with the animal. The alpacas don't walk alongside you like a horse does, there was pull on the rope, this was a bit difficult as my joints are unstable, the woman watched and could see that I was struggling and helped out by leading the alpaca while I held the looser it of rope. This support felt natural and I appreciated that. If you have unstable joints or weak muscles I would encourage a little support with this. If you are in a manual chair then this would be difficult as the alpaca needs to be led and even with one hand this was difficult as they aim for you to hold the rope in both hands. The staff were very accommodating though so there may be a way around this, I imagine that you could just go in the paddock and have a wee one-to-one instead. After this we returned the alpacas, washed our hands and returned to the seated area in the barn. We got to do a felting activity which was really fun, and it was so nice to have a wee keepsake! I thought it was really nice this was included in the price, the business has struggled with lockdowns and need money to stay afloat but they don't push extra costs on you. I found the roving wool to be very soft and tactile, they had large bags for sale but I only needed a tiny bit and the woman offered to make a small bag which I was so happy with! Its super soft! We weren't rushed off and the staff asked how it was and if there was anything to do to make it more accessible. They made sure I was included in everything in a nice, easy-going way. www.bowbridgealpacas.com
Transport & Parking
We drove, I think this would be the only way to get there but I'm not sure. They send out really great information beforehand which covers this. There is a lot of good information sent when you book and again a few days before the visit. When we were leaving we noticed it was quite steep for me getting back in the car (rear entry) and with the gravel I couldn't get in with the belts attached so I just had to 'take a runny' at it which was fine! If you don't feel safe doing that you would likely still get up with a good push.
When we first arrived I just saw lots of gravel and I was a bit concerned, one of the staff came out and showed us where to go from the carpark (which has loose gravel) there was then a path which goes to the barn and to the alpacas! All good. It was straight and quite wide for a path, I had a few inches at each side of my power chair. There weren't any steps, ramp access to the toilet. I was able to move about easily. I could see everything well. There was no space for me to turn in my power chair on the path so I just reversed backwards to get back out of the paddock.
I was really impressed with the toilet! It was new, clean and without clutter. There were grab rails and a red cord which was not tied up. There wasn't space for me to turn in my powerchair but otherwise it was good (see photos)
The staff were really lovely, you can tell they know their stuff and care about the alpacas. They know all the alpacas by name and can share about their personalities. They never rushed us and made sure everyone was included. You do get a really personal experience here. They go above and beyond and are keen to make things more accessible and are planning to pave the whole area that is gravel just now. I hope they get the well-deserved business which helps finance these improvements.
Anything else you wish to tell us?
There wasn't any formal social distancing but we also weren't crammed together so you can try and keep a distance. Masks weren't worn, although I wore my mask. Everyone washes their hands as soon as they come in. The barn is open so its well ventilated, most of the visit takes place outside. The staff shared that they cannot allow guide dogs because they alpacas get spooked making it unsafe, there is nothing that can be done about that unfortunately. They are happy to accommodate though and assist people to the best of their ability. Being able to stroke the alpacas and feel them breathing when you touch their noses is a really lovely experience (I was pleasantly surprised they didn't seem to mind a wee soft nose boop).
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