Aviemore Dog Sled races @ Loch Morlich, Cairngorms (23 – 24 Jan)

Wrap up warm and head for the forests around Aviemore to watch teams of dogs racing around Loch Morlich. This two-day event draws thousands of spectators each year.

With over 230 teams and over 1,000 dog teams taking part each year, this weekend is one of the biggest events of its kind in the year

The drivers of the dog teams (‘mushers’) travel from all over the country. The race allows five breeds to enter: Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds, Greenland Huskies, and Canadian Eskimo Dogs (many of the dogs also appear at Crufts). Every year, the competitors hope for snow but, if there’s none, the race is run on three-wheeled bike-like rigs, rather than traditional sleds.

Teams of two to eight dogs reach speeds of approximately 20 mph as they dash along the four-mile (6.4-km) trail (a designated cross country ski course) around Loch Morlich in the Glenmore Forest Park. Some teams finish in less than 15 minutes.

If you fancy trying your hand as a musher, the Rothiemurchus Highland Estate (http://www.rothiemurchus.net), the UK’s only sled dog centre, is nearby.

The Cairngorms also attract skiers and snowboarders. The funicular railway is a very graceful way to reach the top of the slopes. If you are planning to visit this event, check local weather forecasts as the weather in the Cairngorms can be changeable (www.cairngormmountain.org.uk).  Driving conditions may become challenging on some of the higher mountain roads.

Loch Morlich, Cairngorms, Scotland

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