Conservation charity the National Trust for Scotland is inviting you to meet Henry, its newest member of staff at Culzean Castle and Country Park near Maybole in Ayrshire.
Henry is a llama and he and seven of his friends have arrived just in time for the spring school holidays.
Living peaceably alongside Culzean’s herd of deer, Henry and pals are Lama glamas, sociable animals which were domesticated by the South American Inca culture to be used as beasts of burden. Llamas are very friendly and curious and will readily approach visitors.
What, you may ask, has a South American four-legged ruminant got to do with a castle in Ayrshire? – NTS Head Forester, Ian Cornelius has the answer: “The Kennedy family, whose home Culzean was, traditionally kept a menagerie in the castle grounds. This would have contained exotic animals like bison and emus. We have therefore re-homed the llamas in in order to keep up this tradition and provide people with yet another reason to come and visit this fabulous place.”
Henry and his herd are leading the Trust’s charge to give hard-pressed parents the opportunity to keep their kids occupied over the school holidays. These include daily countryside ranger-led sessions to go looking for natural wonders in the park grounds, period costumed guides giving hands-on demonstrations of how a large household like Culzean was run in days gone by.