Last Saturday, I found myself in a precarious position: the strong-willed alpaca I had on a leash was dragging me across the Kentish landscape of Yalding. No, this wasn’t a fever dream. Alpaca walking is the latest creative offering from the forever-innovative well-being industry. This isn’t the first well-being activity to cater for stressed-out animal enthusiasts  (puppy and bunny yoga sessions are indeed real). I was curious to find out if alpaca walking would help to rejuvenate me after a stressful week or was it merely the latest well-being fad?

 

The session began with our group being introduced to the herd of restless alpacas in need of a walk. That was when I was assigned Max: a gorgeous alpha-male wannabe that had been sidelined by the others in my walking group due to his ‘naughty behaviour’. It was love at first sight. 

Throughout the session our group leader gave us titbits about alpaca behaviour and their respective personalities. I soon discovered that true to our leader’s words, Max does in fact love to scratch himself against a specific tree… even if said tree is at the bottom of a hill and it would separate us from the group. I couldn’t stay angry with Max for long though- just look at that cute face!
 
 
 
 
 

At times during the walk I forgot that Max was in fact an alpaca and not a dog. He cheekily chomped on the foliage we passed and became excitable around the other alpacas. There was, however, one distinctive characteristic not shared by man’s best friend: their ability to spit. At one point during the walk we slipped into the middle of the party, which became a source of contention between Max and Romeo- another aspiring alpha who wanted to lead the pack. In passing Romeo, Max shot a sizable spitball at him - much to my amusement. 



For anyone looking for a unique way to get back in touch with nature, I would definitely recommend going on an alpaca walk. My walk with Max was memorable and a great break from studying. If I could offer one piece of advice for those who are interested I would say: “just be prepared to be the one who is ‘walked’”. 

 
 
 
 

Alpaca walking: a unique way to get back to nature or a new well-being fad?