Walking with Llamas

Virtual llama trek in the Surrey Hills A.O.N.B.

After choosing the llama that you would like to take with you, we will take a 3 mile trek around the Surrey Hills, guided by Jake, the General manager of The Merry Harriers.

We will find out how the llamas enhance the escapism of a walk, understand their unique personalities and discover a totally new way to experience the beautiful Surrey Hills and the many vistas it has to offer.

So, imagine it is shortly before 11am on a sunny day in Hambledon, Surrey and we will hand over to Jake.

"Good morning! The first thing to do before we head out on our walk is to choose your llama (or let them choose you!).

They all have very different personalities. For instance, 2-year-old Truffle is now going through her teenage phase and is very stubborn; if she is eating she won't be moving anytime soon. She is also very clever. If you try and tempt her to pick the pace up with her favourite treat (a special seed mix) she knows that if she just stands there you will probably give it to her anyway.

Or you could pick Dylan. He is very shy to begin with, but when he warms up he likes to get a proper trot on - perfect for children who have some energy to burn! Alternatively, you could opt for Mungo, the pack leader, with her elegant movements and graceful poses."

Toffee - full of kisses

Louis - cheeky & playful

Mungo - a gentle soul

Dylan - a big fan of carrots

Lorenzo - baby of the herd

Goji - quite an underbite

Truffle - adolescent attitude

Diesel - playful and quick

Champagne - super chilled

"After choosing your llama, we like you to get to know them a bit before we go out so we'll get stuck in with a bit of grooming. Some of them like this while others are not so keen, however they all like their long necks being stroked and a few, like Truffle, will give you kisses if she takes a liking to you. Don't worry, it's very easy to get her to like you. The way to any Llama's heart is through his/her stomach so some nice seed mix is essential.

With some initial bonding complete, it is time to head out - through the field towards the gate. Be careful when we get to the gate as the rest of the pack will try and join us because they know that out on the trek there is a feast of different plants and flowers they can munch on!"

"You will very quickly realise you go at the pace the Llama wants to - not the other way round - and they can very stubborn with this. As far as they are concerned you are there to assist them with their banquet.

I had absolutely no experience with llamas before arriving to run the Merry Harriers. My previous work was in very corporate hotels, so I had no idea what they were like. To be honest I was a little bit scared. I arrived in my suits and extremely smart shoes, quickly swapping these for wellies and wax jacket and got stuck in.

To my amazement I fell in love with them and learned everything I needed to know very quickly. They are the most relaxed creatures and nothing seems to phase them. This is great because a lot of other animals don't know what to make of them (especially horses). Our pub dog Jake, the chocolate Labrador, is not intimidated by them and often comes into the field to see Toffee who seems to be his favourite."

"Sorry I digress! Back to the trek. Once we have walked for a while, taking in the stunning scenery and bonding with your llama, we stop at the peak of the Surrey hills to admire the view and begin the feast of the picnic we have put together for you.

The menu we devise is catered to you, we have a selection of sandwiches, smoked salmon and cream cheese, hummus and roasted red pepper, home roasted ham and tomato. Also included are locally made sausage rolls and scotch eggs, cruditiés and dips, and to finish a whole range of mini desserts. There is also supply a fantastic award-winning English sparkling wine made only 2 miles from us."

"On the return leg of the journey the Llamas pick up their speed, getting a bit of a rush on and starting what can only be described as the Llama Grand National - each trying to overtake one other in a race to see who can get back to the inn first. I often describe Champagne as my little Ferrari along with Jenson Truffle.

There is also a sandy patch en-route which is one of the Llamas' favourite pit-stops. They love to stop there for a roll-around in the sand. I have no idea why, but it really is entertaining to watch"

Breakfast en-route

Hankley Common, where the James Bond film Skyfall was filmed.

The perfect sandy patch for rolling around

Jake, the chocolate lab

"This really is a fantastic activity to do with your partner, family or simply on your own. We even have the occasional proposal! I can never guarantee exactly what the llamas will do on the trek or how they behave but the one thing I can guarantee for anyone is it will be an event to remember forever."