Record number of entries to Aviemore sled dog rally

There has been a record entry this week-end for the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally. So far there is not much snow on the ground but the mushers it seems cannot wait for the big countdown to what really could be called a hardy annual.

There has been a record entry this week-end for the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally. So far there is not much snow on the ground but the mushers it seems cannot wait for the big countdown to what really could be called a hardy annual.

A record 250 squads and more than 1000 sled dogs taking part in the biggest rally of its kind in Britain.

There is a special atmosphere here in the heart of the Cairngorms which continues to attract competitors of all ages and abilities.

Sarah Robinson from the Siberian Husky Club said: "It's a great race, a good competition with lots of people in every class and it's a real joy for people to win up here, there is real kudos in being a winner."

What snow there is has not yet reached lower levels, but for the competitors the icy conditions are presenting their own problems.

Competitor Guy Redwood said: "We've got huge patches of ice, it's more like a skating rink so the trick there is to have a lot of control but obviously on ice it can get a bit slippy, but in Aviemore it can change overnight and last year we had a huge dump of snow and we were out on sleds and the following day it had all gone."

The rally is a welcome boost for the area at a generally quiet time of year. It is estimated it is worth around £400,000 to the local economy.

Alex Burns-Smith from Pine Bank Chalets said: "The event itself, with the huskies, we have had them coming here for ten years. We are three quarters full again this year and the other quarter of the cabins we have here are spectators and we are seeing a big return of spectators to the area as well as the huskies."

Racing proper gets underway tomorrow.

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