Huskies and sledders in the Highlands prepare for UK’s biggest sled dog rally
Dogs and racers alike are set for the 36th annual Aviemore Sled Dog Rally, which will take place near Loch Morlich.
Huskies and sledders have gathered in the Scottish Highlands to prepare for the UK’s biggest sled dog rally, organised by the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain (SHCGB).
The sled dog rally, which will take place on 26 and 27 January, has been running since 1984 and is the biggest race of its kind in the UK.
At this year’s event, mushers from across the UK will gather in the forests around Aviemore for the race’s 36th anniversary.
Huskies have been photographed during a training session at Feshiebridge ahead of the race, along with their mushers.
The sled dog race is run on forest trails around Loch Morlich, close to the Cairngorm mountains.
There are high hopes that there will be settled snow at ground level for the race, which will allow mushers to use sleds, but the event will go ahead even if no snow appears.
SHCGB said: “From an original of only 12 teams, the race is now the largest event of its kind in the UK, with over 1,000 sled dogs and 250 mushers.
“The race features teams of between two and eight dogs pulling their musher on a sled around a four to seven mile trail. If there’s no snow at ground level for the event, the races still go on with mushers using a three-wheeled rig that looks like a tricycle without a seat.”
There are eight adult classes in the race, and two children’s classes.
According to SHCGB, mushers range from eight years old to over 60.
SHCGB said: “Along with the Siberian Huskies, race dogs include Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Greenland Dogs and Canadian Eskimo Dogs, the pedigree breeds of dogs first bred to pull sleds in Arctic conditions hundreds of years ago.”
The trail is a designated cross-country ski course, which runs parallel to the ski road for a short distance before entering the forest.