The world of Cumbrian fell-walking is in for a high-level shake-up – thanks to a thirsty alpaca called Milky Joe.

For the cute little chap, who has earned his nickname from his love of the white stuff, will take his first steps as a tour guide up Catbells in the Lakes this summer.

Milky Joe is part of a 40-strong herd of alpacas owned by Terry Barlow and Emma Smalley, who run Alpacaly Ever After at Setmurthy, near Bassenthwaite.

And he’s proving such a draw on Twitter with his cute little antics that the couple have decided he can be the first Alpaca to trot up the famous Lake District fell.

The new route is part of a ‘Walking with Alpacas’ venture the couple run in conjunction with the Lakes Distillery and the Lingholm Estate, along the shores of Derwentwater.

“He’s still a very wee alpaca, but he’s such a friendly little chap,” added Emma.

“Young and old love him, especially when they see him covered in milk.

“Terry has just started training him for our private walks, which will take in Catbells for the first time in the summer.”

But it wasn’t all plain sailing for the little chap, who came into the world five months ago.

For his mum, five-year-old Honey, wasn’t producing any milk for the hungry youngster, so Terry succumbed to the youngster’s charms and bottle fed him for two months.

“Terry ended up not doing much else. Him and Milky Joe ended up spending a lot of time together,” said Emma, 37.

“He was very tiny and came early, so we thought he wouldn’t make it,” she added.

“He didn’t like the bottle at first, so ended up with more milk on his face and body, hence the name he was given.”

But as he got older the little cria – that’s the posh term for baby alpacas – decided the bottle just wasn’t enough.

“That’s when he latched on to his best friend’s mum, who wasn’t having it at first, but then caved in when Milky Joe proved to be more stubborn than her,” said Emma.

Terry and Emma moved from Manchester to Setmurthy four years ago, and decided to raise a herd of alpacas without any experience at all.

“We came in blind, and decided the quickest way to learn is to go right into it,” added Emma.

Emma has an office at Braithwaite Farm, and runs her business Temporary Measure in partnership with Terry.

Terry spends his days looking after his alpacas and Emma uses their fleece to make knitted products, as well as greeting cards, china mugs and other gift products sold around the world.

She also writes children’s books.

Terry’s female alpaca herd of 28 are based next to the distillery, with the 12-strong male ones at Lingholm Hall.

He organises walks with the animals and even takes people to paddle with them on the shore of Bassenthwaite Lake.

“We have visitors on a Sunday at the distillery, and it becomes an “alpaca selfie fest”.

He says: “I love doing it. I love introducing the alpacas to people.”

Emma adds: “People get so enthusiastic.

“Terry halters Big Willie and Boo, and visitors can lead them around the field and feed them from their hands.

“Terry explains all the Alpaca facts and tells terrible jokes,” she added.

The couple also organise children’s parties.

“The alpacas love children. The latter have no fear, and the alpacas know this. They are herd animals and are extremely social.”

Terry explains that alpacas have pregnancies that last 11 and a half months and are at their happiest when they are pregnant.

Emma says: “It seemed a crazy idea at first to breed alpacas but Terry always supported me in my business, so I wanted to do the same.”

Farmer : Inside Life