Following on from our web story of unusual day out from earlier in th month here Four Shires Editor Jeremy Wilton visits Joseph’s Amazing Camels in Warwickshire.
Back in the 12th century, when Richard the Lionheart returned to Britain a grand party was thrown to make his return seem more joyous than it really was (a large ransom had been paid for his ignoble return). One of those charged with making the party a success was a certain Roger de Fossett. He was instrumental in organising a large circus for King Richard – an event that included animals such as lions, tigers, elephants and camels. Move forward nine centuries and the Fossetts are still organising such events, although nowadays perhaps on a slightly smaller scale!
Jo Fossett is a direct descendent of the aforementioned Roger and it is he and his wife Rebecca who run Joseph’s Amazing Camels based near Shipston on Stour in Warwickshire. From their leafy countryside home guests are invited to take part in organised camel treks, riding either one humped (dromedary) or two humped (bactrian) animals.
Jo and Rebecca have run Joseph’s Amazing Camels since 2000. Previous to this they had both worked in different locations with other animals.
Rebecca commented: “Jo had been brought up as part of a tented caravan family and his dream was to have become a wild animal trainer. I first met him in Great Yarmouth where he was working with lions. We moved to working with camels and set up Joseph’s Amazing Camels 16 years ago.
“As well as running our trekking business our camels are never very far from the spotlight having appeared with celebrities and in film and advertising. The ‘E-Harmony’ dating website camel features Ruby and the ‘Easy Jet’ launch saw our camels involved. Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond have been on board as well as the children of Conservatives David Cameron and Michael Gove
Jo and Rebecca’s camels also take part in racing and are often used to set a ‘theme’ for a wedding or a social event.
To get up close and personal with Joseph and Rebecca’s camels a trip out to White House Farm to enjoy their company is definitely recommended.
Rebecca said: “You must wear comfy clothing and sensible shoes, the only thing we do stipulate is that under sevens are too young to ride, and up to 13 you should be accompanied by an adult. We had a lady here recently who was 94 years old! Physically, the only thing you have to be able to do is lift your leg into the saddle”.
All the tack for the camels is hand made by Jo and the wonderfully colourful ‘Bedouin’ rugs by Rebecca.
She commented: “We like to involve our customers. As well as taking part in the trek, they will have the chance to groom the camels and to ‘get to know them’. I feel many people nowadays miss out on the therapeutic effects offered by animals. Our camels are highly domesticated and they love a bit of attention.”
Following the three hour trek, guests are welcomed back to White House Farm for strawberries and a glass of Prosecco. www.jacamels.co.uk
Story first published in the July 2016 issue of the magazine