Every year since 1984, mushers from across the UK have gathered in the forests around Aviemore for the biggest event in the British sled dog racing calendar, The Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain Aviemore Sled Dog Rally. In 2015 we celebrate our 32nd anniversary of the race on 24 and 25 January.
Organised by the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain, conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland, sponsored by pet food firm Royal Canin, the race is run on forest trails around the beautiful Loch Morlich, in the shadow of the Cairngorm mountains.
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 and two children’s classes and mushers range from just 8 years old to over 60. 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 and is clearly defined. The Start lies just over the wooden bridge from the car park and runs parallel to the ski road for a short distance before entering the forest. The first part of the trail is quite demanding, but then runs along the loch side to the Finish without great problem.