31st annual aviemore sleddog rally 2014
Drawing thousands of spectators every year, The Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain have been organising the Aviemore Sleddog Rally since 1984. The two day event is held at Loch Morlich in the Cairngorms, and this year they are hoping for snow.
The 2013 rally saw drivers use traditional sleds for only the second time in 20 years. Usually the lack of snow means the mushers (drivers of the dog teams) use four wheeled rigs instead of sleds, but after the success of last year’s snowy rally they have their fingers crossed in 2014 for more of the white stuff.
The rally now has over 230 mushers and around 1000 dogs in groups of two to eight with race speeds reaching about 20 mph - this sounds pretty fast for a pack of dogs! There are eight adult classes and two children’s classes with the action packed weekend featuring numerous heats and the teams racing at fast moving one to two minute intervals.
Competitors come from all over the UK and Northern Ireland to take part in this world famous event, racing along the beautiful forest trails around Loch Morlich in Glenmore Forest Park.
Man’s best friend
Sled racing may be synonymous with the wolf like Siberian Husky but Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Greenland Huskies and Canadian Eskimo Dogs are also allowed to enter. Huskies are thought to be one of the oldest dog breeds in the world and although they are high energy working dogs they are very intelligent, friendly and are now commonly kept as household pets.
In the UK there are hundreds of mushers who train their dogs throughout the year and range in age from eight to over 60! The mushers all have one thing in common though, they have to be extremely fit. Leading a dog sled is very hard work especially over treacherous conditions.
Become a musher for the day
If this is whetting your appetite and you fancy trying your hand as a musher, head down to the Cairngorm Sleddog Centre on the Rothiemurchus Highland Estate, the only sleddog centre in the UK. Experience the thrill of a sleddog ride, meet their pack of 30 sleddogs, learn about sleddog training and discover the history of the sport. For even more of an experience the centre offers a two day training course where you learn how to run your own small sleddog team.
This year’s Aviemore Sleddog Rally is held on Saturday 25th - 26th January so why not combine a day out dog racing with a Burns Night feast for a January weekend to remember.
Book your stay at The Hilton Coylumbridge now and enjoy the magic of a real sleddog rally.
*Update: Take a look at SiberPrint for a gallery of images from this year's event. We'd also like to thank them for allowing us to use their images on our social media accounts.