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Scotland Calling!

An update on the Cairngorm Sleddog Adventure Centre
by Alan Stewart, 6/30/02

The Cairngorm Sleddog Adventure Centre
The Cairngorm Sleddog Adventure Centre

The first sleddog centre in the UK opened on 22/12/01. The Centre is based at the foot of the Cairngorm Mountains in the Highlands of Scotland, between the winter & summer resort of Aviemore and the Uk's most popular ski area and climbing and walking areas.

The Centre is in the heart of one of Scotland's oldest family owned estates. Rothiemurchus welcomes over 300,000 visitors each year and has been proposed as a World Heritage site and a National Park site. The estate is owned by the Grant family who can trace the family back to 1553. It was the "laird" Johnnie Grant with his wife, Philippa, who have brought Rothiemurchus from a traditional highland estate to the present multiple land-use business.

The Centre is based around a traditional Highland cottage called Moormore. It is the only cottage in the facility which still stands and can be dated back to before the 19th century. It has a panoramic view of the Cairngorm mountain range plus many trails set into the forest area at the foot of the mountains. It's half an hour from the main road and has wildlife all around. To make this venture work 22 sleddogs and myself have stayed at the Centre, where there is no running water or drainage. The last man to stay in the cottage was a Norwegian man who brought the very first Reindeer into Scotland in 1952. It stood empty for 46 years before I set up the sleddog centre. Living alone with only my sleddogs through one of Scotland's worse winters for many years was one of the best things I have done in my life. I have been here for over five months now.

The Centre offers an assortment of attractions from a two-hour insight into the sport, which includes an hour's trip with a team of 12 sleddogs, to courses. The Centre is dedicated to Alec "Scotty" Allan who was born in Dundee, Scotland in 1867. He was brought up only a short distance from the Centre. Scotty became a legend within the sport and it's the main aim of Alan Stewart, the Centre's owner, to bring him back to life in his own country…. not only to help the sport go forward, but to ensure he is recognized as one of Scotland's true adventurers in his country of birth.

Lifesize photo of Scotty Allan

"I believe Alec's life history, which covered Scotland, Alaska/Gold Rush, Siberia, War torn France, needs to be told. My country at present has looked upon others within the sport to set examples. They have no interest for the history and the men who in fact started it back in the Klondike days. Their only goal is to breed so called sleddogs for the show ring and to underline their own dual-purpose dogs, which have no place within the sport today. Simply, they have been bred for looks rather than anything else. They have made sure our sport is about 15 years behind Europe and still glove our sport within the UK at the highest level by flying two flags at one time to our Sports Federation. By bringing Alec back within my Centre, people can see the truth.


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