Sunday 29 March 2015


On thursday we left home with film directors from L.A staying in our studio bed-sit, the dog went to friends at one end of the village, the hens and 2-day old chicks in the care of our neighbours, and the remaining alpacas to be checked on by our farm neighbour. Miraculously, everything seemed to work out, with all of the animals and keys in the correct places when we got home late last night. We had a steady journey to the Ricoh Arena, Coventry, for The British Alpaca Futurity 2015, and got unloaded and parked fairly swiftly.

Apple Vale Florina receives some calming words.
For cooling the alpacas in a warm arena, breeders use electric fans, and some time ago I looked into whether re-chargeable battery versions existed. I located a Makita fan at Axminster Tools, on-line, which are quite cheap, but the batteries and charger are considerably dearer - never-the-less, they can be used with other Makita tools, such as drills, and besides, we can use them in agricultural shows, the barn in hot whether, or the trailer even, so I took the plunge, and ordered everything - with the hotel being in the arena complex, re-charging was straight-forward, and the batteries last for 3-4 hours depending on high or low setting. At night we set one running before ten o'clock lock-down, and the alpacas were fine in the morning. So, we were very pleased with the outcome, and many breeders were inquisitive to see the set-up - the two fans suited us for 3 alpacas, and would probably do for 5 or 6 - fan-tastic!

This was our first time of showing at a national show - Day 1 we had two females in the show ring, Apple Vale Florina, Junior Brown, and Apple Vale Empress, Intermediate White - whilst they both have good characteristics, we are realistic and know that there are some aspects they are not the best, so we weren't surprised that they did not get in the rosettes, amongst stiff competition.
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th. - presenting the rosettes.

On Day 2, we had Apple Vale Fortune, Junior Male, and White, sired by CCNF Talon of Classical MileEnd, with grand-sire Dovecote Jaquinto of Alpaca Stud. We knew he had many special characteristics, but he was in a class with three groups of nine, all containing progeny of championship-winning sires.
Judge Peter Kennedy from Australia presents the rosette

When the judge placed Fortunes fleece sample on his sleeve, I saw the brightness immediately jump out compared to some others, and allowed myself to think we had a chance, so it was a relief when he beckoned us to the front line, and fantastic when he directed us into third place - the alpaca judging ring (and show) is a serious, professionally operated example of British alpaca breeding - but everyone, including judges, know not to take themselves too seriously - it is fun, and there are light-hearted moments, and we all love our alpacas - so I allowed a smile to spread across my, normally (too) serious face, but with-held the 'fist-pumping' and cry of "yesss" until we got in the car! After all, in over six years of alpaca breeding, I've made the 'walk of shame' (which of course, it isn't) a few times, as we have steadily improved the herd through careful breeding on our compact farm. We'll have a glass of wine tonight.
Listening to the judges summing-up and reasoning.

The fibre, fleece products and crafts were celebrated by the 'P-Lush Show' running alongside the alpaca show, and contained some fabulously exotic garments to demonstrate the possibilities with alpaca fleece.
Apple Vale Fortune with his rosette.


  1. Yessssssssssss! Well done, it was a great result for you guys! Good to see you both too.

  2. Congratulations! Superb with such awesome competition!

  3. Well done Dave and it was good to meet you.

  4. Nice one, Team Apple Vale - especially Fortune - congratulations! Shirley & Robbie

  5. Well done Apple Vale!