On one sunny day, I decided to go to Reuthes for an Alpaca Trek. After hearing about Scratch and Nuzzle all over social media, it was only obvious that I wanted to see for myself what the buzz was all about.
As a person who just learnt the difference between an alpaca and a llama, I went in with very little expectations.
After all, they were just a very hairy animals, what could this experience bring me? I thought it was just an overhyped walk through another park in Sevenoaks.
Oh man, I was wrong. I was so wrong, and it took me less than ten seconds into the walk to realise my mistakes.
This hike was…
Hold on! I am probably rushing this.
Background: Walking into Reuthes for the first time
I only discovered Reuthes through a friend. This guy is some big-dog for a digital marketing company, so it was only obvious his opinion was biased.
I walked into The Lost Gardens with the intention of criticising it to shreds to prove my friend wrong, quite honestly. As the terrible friend I am, I find hating whatever he loves to be quite a sport, so I was ready to find faults in every leaf in that park.
Once again, I was wrong. Sure, the park seemed nothing special as I drove into it. Quite frankly, I was already rubbing my hands together, so excited I was going to write this article saying the park was nothing more than a glorified bunch of colourful plants put together.
Three minutes into the park and I was lost in the vibrant colour, the variety of flora and the intriguing history surrounding every tree.
I even forgot what “criticising” means, for a second. I went to discover the Lost Gardens, but I ended up lost in them. How ironic.
After taking pictures of every flower (and the SPECTACULAR views the hills offered the photographer in me), I did what was natural: I impulsively booked a trek with the alpacas.
Meeting with Scratch and Nuzzle
After meeting with the polite owner who thanked me for my kind words, I was led to the high point of my visit at Reuthes: The alpacas were waiting for me, led by the all-green, smiling Alpaca Whisperer.
“Did you know they used to be called Al Pacino and Al Capone?” he joked as he led the docile animals outside their pen.
A moment of realisation somewhat struck me:
I went to zoos so many times. Lions, gazelles, llamas, all of those “exotic” animals were always to be seen behind bars, depressed and fed to be nothing more than a show for visitors.
But these alpacas? They were there, treated like royalty as every animal should, and they were suddenly standing only inches away from me.
I was handed the alpaca’s leash and instructed on how to behave around Scratch.
The moment you touch that leash… It all hits you in a split second. So surreal, so magical...
If you like walking a dog, you’ll love walking an alpaca.
Turns out, when instead of dogs you have massive, hairy animals that behave in such tame and gentle ways, it’s the most surprising thing in the world. It’s like reality suddenly stops, and what you thought was going to happen has been left at the gate.
I expected these beauties to run away, fight back and behave wildly. However, they were such regal, polite creatures, and their eyes were majestic to say the least. I could have spent hours just staring at them trekking through the Lost Gardens, and even as I loosened my leash on them, they loyally stood by my side.
I know I ought to repeat myself, but the only word I can describe that walk with is “surreal”. If you love animals, then this is the best you can get yourself. It’s not just a trek with an alpaca: It’s a journey guaranteed to shatter and exceed expectations.
Reuthes calls itself “The Lost Gardens of Sevenoaks.” Well, once you discover them, what you’ll find is the purest form of magic Kent can give you.
What more can I say? It was an experience like no other. It was something I wish more people would live. It was my tiny bit of adventure in an otherwise fairly monotonous life.
It is something you can experience as well.
Book your own adventure. Trek through The Lost Gardens with the alpacas and live through something only Reuthes could offer.