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1000 Sled Dogs head north for the Big Freeze!


Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! that’s the hope of the competitors at the Arden Grange & Siberian Husky Club of GB Aviemore Sled Dog Rally 2009.

Husky in SnowThis year’s event takes place this weekend (24 & 25 January) and over 1000 sled dogs will be hoping for plenty of the white stuff to make it a real arctic experience. With competitors ranging in age from just eight to over 60, there’s something for everyone to see at this great family event, which attracts over 3000 spectators annually.

Organised by the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain, sponsored by the dog food manufacturer Arden Grange, in conjunction with Forestry Commission Scotland, the rally is run on forest trails around the beautiful Loch Morlich, in the shadow of the Cairngorms.

Perfect trails

Jack Mackay, for Forestry Commission Scotland in Inverness, said; "We are more than happy to work with the Club to organise their events, not just here in Inverness but across Scotland. The Commission has the perfect trails for some great racing, giving the dogs and their drivers a challenge and a thrill!

"It's a magnificent spectacle too - watching these beautiful, hard working dogs give it their all makes for an exciting day out. I'd urge anyone to come along and get track-side."
The rally features teams of between two and eight sled dogs pulling sleds at up to 20 miles an hour over a challenging, four-mile track. Taking part will be Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes and Samoyeds.

Just a dozen teams ran in the first rally in 1984. With over 250 teams racing this year, the event is now one of the biggest gatherings of its kind in the world, bringing very welcome income to the tourist industry, shops and restaurants of Aviemore.

Jonathan Gatenby, an Aviemore Business Association spokesman said “"We are delighted to have the Siberian Husky Club of GB back in Aviemore and Glenmore, This long standing event has become a highlight of the Winter season and it is a great spectacle for the visitors to the area. The event is a welcome boost to the local economy at a generally quiet time of the year. It has been calculated that the event brings in over £400,000 to local shops, restaurants and hotels. The ideal thing is that come snow or shine the huskies run, which in view of the erratic nature of the skiing season makes it a very important event."

Mushers

One of the event organisers, Sarah Robinson from Watford explains more about the race: “If we have ideal conditions there will be plenty of snow for teams to pull their driver – called the musher – around the course on a sled. If not, the musher will use a three-wheeled rig that looks a bit like a tricycle without a seat.”

“Both dogs and musher have to be fit and many teams train all year round for this race. The health and safety of the dogs is our top priority and temperature and humidity are closely monitored to make sure the conditions are right for the dogs and their owners to have maximum fun during the event. We also have a vet on standby during the racing.

“Sled dogs will arrive from as far as the Isle of Wight and Devon, 600 miles south, for what is considered one of the most challenging and prestigious of the Siberian Husky Club’s series of rallies. Many of the dogs running at the Rally will also be competing at the Kennel Club’s Crufts Dog Show in March.

The Arden Grange & Siberian Husky Club of GB Aviemore Sled Dog Rally 2009 on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 January from 9.30am to 4pm each day.


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