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Welcome to Barnacre Alpacas run by Debbie and Paul Rippon. We breed and sell friendly champion alpacas in beautiful Northumberland and we look forward to hearing from you.
We are a husband and wife partnership dedicated to the welfare of our animals and the craftmanship of handmade alpaca knitwear which you can find for sale in our online shop.
After seeing Michael Palin spend a couple of days with an alpaca subsistence farming family in early the early 2000s, we spent three years researching these enchanting animals and the way of life they bring. Many hours of studying and farm visits bought us to the conclusion that we wanted to pursue the alpaca dream – and when you’re both office workers from the housing estates of Nottingham, with just a cat from the RSPCA that’s a big dream!
After moving house lots around the country in 2006 Paul “accidentally” took a job here in Northumberland. So Debbie “accidentally” quit her job as an insurance broker and in February 2007 Barnacre Alpacas was founded when we took delivery of our first 3 pregnant females, Duchess, Blossom and Willow, on our 2 acres of land.
With no farming background the learning curve has been very steep and we still learn something most days! With over 400 births and a variety of purchases and imports our herd has grown to around 300 alpacas.
In 2011 our breeding decisions and programme got a real boost when Barnacre Casiphia blew the judges and crowd away at the Border Union show at Kelso. She was awarded a very rare “full house” of 1st intermediate white female, white champion, best of British and Supreme Champion – what a girl! Her first fleece was then shown at the 2011 Scottish National fleece show where it scored a brilliant 80.5 and was awarded 2nd place junior white in a huge class of 25. Our second home bred Supreme Champion was Barnacre Thor, we took him to the Westmorland Show, Cumbria in 2014 and he blew away all competition, with the judge Rob Bettinson said his fleece was “orgasmic” and the best he had ever seen! Home bred champions sure do make us happy!
To continue our alpaca dream, we sold our house and car (Debbie’s beloved MGTF) in 2011 and then bought a 220 acre Northumbrian hill where we moved into a small and draughty caravan (that blew over…long story). We then built a house, alpaca buildings and created Liberty Hill Farm, near Elsdon. Our farming practices were approved by Natural England as we conserved and enhanced the countryside, generated solar electricity, used ground source heating and fresh water was drawn from our own spring.
In July 2017 we moved again! This time to the fabulous Turpin’s Hill Farm, an outstanding 110 acres in the beautiful Tyne Valley, just 2 miles North West of Heddon-on-the-Wall, 1.5 miles off the A69 (Horsley/Wylam turn off), one mile from the Plough Inn and less than a mile from Hadrian’s Wall Path. In 2018 we built some 17,000 square feet of new buildings, improved the infrastructure for parking, with turning circles so no need to worry about reversing trailers here!
Our aim is to produce friendly, champion alpacas with excellent conformation carrying fine, dense fleeces. Each of our animals is known by name and their individual personalities are clearly recognised by us. We are using their magnificent fleece to produce a variety of quality handcrafted alpaca knitwear products and we only use the fleeces of our own alpacas, tracing every one of them to the knitwear. If you and Paul can convince Debbie then we sometimes have alpacas for sale although very few are advertised as we like to match alpacas to their owners.
The alpacas, other animals and we look forward to meeting you soon.
Kind regards, Debbie and Paul Rippon, Barnacre Alpacas