TROTTING down an Edgworth street with a llama on a lead has got to be one of the most unusual ways I have spent a bright and sunny Saturday morning.

Ever since I visited an alpaca farm while on holiday in America last summer, I have been fascinated by these intelligent, sensitive and gentle animals.

Although closely related to alpacas, llamas are roughly twice their size and make the perfect companion for a trek around the idyllic countryside just a few miles away from Bolton.

The outing was made possible thanks to The Wellbeing Farm in Plantation Road.

Arriving at the farm, we were met by our friendly and knowledgeable guides — Jimmy Brindle and Hannah Taylor — before being introduced to the llamas.

The farm has five — Vincent, Humbug, Laurie, Yasser and Ezra — all with their own individual personalities and quirks.

My animal for the outing was Humbug and I soon got used to him, forgetting my fear of if he was going to spit at me or bolt out into the road in front of a car (he didn't).

As we made our way from the farm to Wayoh Reservoir, passers-by and residents — young and old — peered through windows at the sight of us with our furry friends.

My mum's companion was Ezra, who proved to be the slightly more mischievous of the bunch, while another pair on the outing shared Laurie between them.

As if to prove just what inquisitive, perceptive and curious creatures they are, Humbug became fixated on a leftover ball of snow from the earlier wintry weather which looked like a boulder.

The sight of a 6ft creature being seemingly spooked by an inanimate object, taking tentative steps as I coaxed it past the large, harmless snowball, was both cute and comical.

You are encouraged to talk to your llama and stroke their neck and, as bizarre as it sounds, you really do bond with them.

Due to their docile and friendly natures, llamas are suitable for close contact with children and trekking with them is a popular therapeutic activity for disabled youngsters.

While our trek was four miles and suitable for over-12s, there is also a shorter country lane walk which can be enjoyed by young children, people in wheelchairs and those who want an activity that is not too strenuous.

Winding our way through the country lanes, we made our way back to the farm where we met the other animals before settling down to enjoy a vintage afternoon tea.

With three tiers of goodies, including slices of leek, potato and red pepper tart; salmon and cream cheese sandwiches and an array of sweet treats, washed down with unlimited cups of tea served from China teapots, it was just the tonic needed after the two hour trek.

Delightful, relaxing and fun, I challenge anyone to go for a trek with one of these charming creatures and not leave feeling relaxed and re-invigorated with a big smile on their face.

Llamas even had a starring role on American television news on Thursday, when two were filmed on the loose for 30 minutes in Sun City, Arizona, before they were captured.

And just days earlier, I had spotted a feature in none other than fashion bible Vogue magazine which said 2015 should be the year of the llama, hailing them "chic creatures, with an imposing silhouette, shaggy fur accents, and a self-possessed comportment".

If llamas are good enough for Vogue, then they are good enough for me and I cannot wait to return to the Wellbeing Farm to see my chum Humbug.

Country Lane Llama Experience

Price: One person (one llama) — £50

Two people (two llamas) — £90

Reservoir Llama Experience

Price: One person (one llama) — £65.00

Two people (two llamas) — £130.00