Highlands & Islands

Aviemore dog sled race cancelled over safety concerns

Media captionHuskies pull a sledge during practice for the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally

The second day of the annual Aviemore Sled Dog Race has been cancelled because of safety concerns.

More than 1,000 dog had been due to compete in the event, which started on Saturday in perfect conditions.

But overnight rain left large patches of ice on the course, making it too dangerous.

The event had been celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Siberian Husky Club of Great Britain.

It is understood to be the first time in the event's history that a full day's racing has had to be called off.

The club's Judy Wakker told BBC Scotland on Sunday morning: "Unfortunately the Scottish weather has got in the way. It has rained overnight and parts of the course are just a sheet of ice this morning.

"It is not safe for the dogs, for the mushers or for the spectators so we have had to cancel the day.

"It is so sad, but we had a fantastic day yesterday. The snow was perfect and I had the run of my life. It was great."

Dog teams are able to run without snow by using wheeled rigs, but ice makes underfoot conditions treacherous for the dogs and stops the sled's brakes working properly.

The race in 2010 was the first time the Aviemore event had been held on snow for 15 years.

Races were being run on Forestry Commission trails next to Loch Morlich in the heart of the Cairngorms National Park.

Dogs including Siberian Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Samoyeds and Canadian Eskimo Dogs had been competing in teams of between two and eight.

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