Clara Boulton – 13 Feb 2022

13 February 2022     British Alpaca Society     BAS Board


Last winter we woke up too what can only be described as a ‘post apocalyptic’ sight after one of the worst storms we had had for years. We knew from our cameras that at least one field shelter had flipped carefully over onto the other side of the fence. I couldn’t spot the other field shelter in the neighbouring paddock; which transpired to be because it had been lifted up over the fence, and brought back down onto the ground with such force that it was completely shattered. Touch wood, several other field shelters managed to survive, but what really finished the day off was our wooden barn roof had been lifted off and ever so carefully placed down next to it. Unfortunately it wasn’t salvageable but it was kind of the wind to make clean up duty slightly easier than if it had been smashed into lots of smaller pieces.

We are so lucky to have a brilliant joiner who is also a good friend who was able to be with us within an hour or two to get everything measured up for rebuilding and go through what wood we could save and salvage and what we could just get rid of… I will say, we’ve got one hell of a bonfire ready for November! 

What was frustrating from the start is that all of our buildings were secured by ground anchors, ratchet straps, you name it! So we took the opportunity to go back to basics and really look at how the shelters and barn ended up in pieces. Initially they were at the bottom of a slope, as we live in very flat open West Lancashire you don’t have many natural wind breaks, so for us (and the original builders) a slight dip seemed the most logical place. But the wind must have gained momentum coming down the slope which meant when it was able to get inside the field shelter it was able to push it upwards. Hence how the field shelters have managed to go up and over the fences without causing any damage! Saying that, I cannot emphasise how lucky we are that two huge field shelters and a barn roof managed to blow over fence lines and somehow leave them intact. 

We have now gone for a slightly different approach and rebuilt the shelters in a different place, they are further up the slope, back facing and once again, a ridiculous amount of ground anchors and weather proofing. So watch this space! 

Since reinstalling our shelters and barn roof we have had a number of windy days. But we appear to be ok! However it is safe to say we don’t get much sleep now whenever it is windy at night. The small bonus was that the alpacas seemed to enjoy the entertainment of watching the shelters and barn be repaired and rebuilt. It’s a shame that we did not get the same enjoyment out of watching the money leave our bank account!