(Photo: Richard Powell)
Immediately after crossing the Hamara River as you come into Glendale, there is a turn left that almost doubles back on yourself towards Lephin (passing the little store) and 10 metres in you come across a large sign indicating “Hebridean Alpacas” and a steep, gravelled drive that brings you up onto Sandra and Richard Powell’s croft.
An alpaca (Vicugna pacos) is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance. Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level, throughout the year. So, they are used to steep slopes and very cold weather, which means they must be quite at home here on Skye.
Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool. These items include blankets, sweaters, hats, gloves, scarves, a wide variety of textiles and ponchos in South America, and sweaters, socks, coats and bedding in other parts of the world. There is a small shop selling alpaca wool products and hand-made Peruvian jewellery too.