I enjoyed so much my time on the Isle of Wight last year (see my post – A Trip to the Isle of Wight) that I decided to return this summer as well. Alongside penguins and pandas, llamas and alpacas are my favourite animals, so I visited the West Wight Alpacas and Llamas farm situated near the quiet village of Wellow on the Isle of Wight. This is a large farm that was started in 2010 by a husband and wife team, and now provides a great day out for all the family. They offer a variety of farm activities, from feeding various farm animals to short walks and long treks with llamas and alpacas.
Llamas and alpacas originate in South America, and at least the former has been domesticated for thousands of years, primarily in the central Andes. In their book Llamas of South America, Conklin and Bjorklund say that “the llamas were domesticated over two thousand years before the coming of the Incas”, and since the Incas of Peru had no writing system to speak of, or iron, it was probably due to the llama that they were able to build such a great empire since the llama provided them with food, wool and means to transport bulky items.
The Isle of Wight is England’s largest island with plenty of resorts dating to Victorian times. Possessing breath-taking views and a splendid nature’s abode, it had been the holiday destination of Queen Victoria, who had her summer residence at the Osborne House, East Cowes. It has a “Roman Settlements” heritage, a “Dinosaur” heritage, the famous 30 metre-high rocks called The Needles, llama and donkey sanctuaries, and a long list of famous people connected to the place, from writers/poets/naturalists Charles Dickens (who wrote his David Copperfield there), Lewis Carroll, J.B. Priestley, John Keats and Charles Darwin to director Anthony Minghella (The English Patient (1996)) and actor Jeremy Irons (The Lion King (1994)), who were born there (in Ryde and Cowes respectively). Much more than just “England in Miniature”, as it is often called, Isle of Wight has its own unique character and charm. A trip there is a trip to remember since it is bound to exceed expectations. Below are highlights from my recent trip to the Isle of Wight – I chose to focus on (i) Ventnor Botanic Garden; (ii) The Garlic Farm and on (iii) Newport.