Husky racers gather for Aviemore Sled Dog Rally in Scotland

Undeterred by a lack of snow at the event, the mushers will race on wheels rather than sledges

More than 200 husky mushers have gathered to race around 1,000 dogs in the Highlands on Saturday, at the 31st annual Aviemore Sled Dog Rally.

In the biggest event in the UK’s sled dog race calendar, dogs will speed across forest trails around Loch Morlich, at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains in the eastern Highlands of Scotland.

Four types of dogs will cover a trail stretching over seven miles (11km): Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds and Canadian Eskimo Dogs.

During the rally, between two and eight dogs will pull racers along on tricycle-like structures called rigs.

Judy Wakker, from the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain, which organises the rally, said: “The dogs just love it. You've only got to go to the start line and see their faces and hear the noises they are making.”

 

As snowfall is relatively rare in the UK, rigs are used in almost all races. Ms Wakker said Rigs are faster than sleds and easier to navigate but also noisier.

“There's nothing better than when you are running the dogs with a sled - there is just silence. It's like skiing,” added Ms Wakker, from Stirlingshire.

Sharon Jones travels every year to Aviemore with her husband and dogs from Wishaw, North Lanarkshire.

The 40-year-old said: “It's like a second home up here. People travel from down south, from Ireland, everywhere.

"It's one of the biggest races of the year and it's great fun.

“I bought my first Siberian Husky as a pet but came up here for the first time with the puppy and that was it, I was hooked."

"When you drive up here and hear the dogs howling, the atmosphere is great. It's absolutely amazing," she added.

Additional reporting by PA

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