Crowds flock to husky event despite snowy weather

STONEHAVEN residents turned out in force to support a husky extravaganza organised by local musher Wattie McDonald last weekend.

The two-day event was hailed a great success by Mr McDonald, who feared he would have to cancel it at the last minute before sponsors Chudley Greyhound Racer dogfood stepped in to save the day.

It is the second year the event has been held in the town, after Mr McDonald was inspired by the hugely successful Aviemore Sled Dog Rally.

The event was held at Baird Park on December 18 and 19, and Mr McDonald said more than 200 husky sled rides were enjoyed by people over the course of the weekend. And thanks to the snowy weather, the sled was not on wheels this year!

Mr McDonald said: “It could not have gone better, it was just outstanding. All the kids were laughing and giggling on the sled, it made my day.

“The field had enough snow for the sleds to run without wheels and the dogs were just going mad, they loved it. I enjoyed the day more than last year because I felt it ran more smoothly and was easier to pull together on the weekend. Being near the main road was a big attraction too as people passing could see what was going on.

“Obviously the roads were not that great and people were struggling a bit to get about but there was plenty of local support from people just walking down from their houses and we even had some folk through from Aberdeen which was great.”

On the Saturday evening there was be a procession along the main street to collect Santa from Michies the Chemist which was led by Portlethen pipe band. Mearns FM were also broadcasting on the day. The Scouts and the MRI were also present on the day, dishing out a BBQ and festive food.

Mr McDonald said: “I would like to thank these guys for helping out, and especially the Portlethen Pipe Band, as I know it cannot be easy to play the pipes in the freezing cold but they did a great job.

“I got quite an emotional buzz out of it, because I love the bagpipes and to be coming up the street with my dogs was magic.”

One very lucky youngster was Yasmin Murray who won the chance to keep Santa’s seat warm for the first half of the procession.

“She couldn’t stop laughing all the way along the street, so it was really good,” Mr McDonald said.

Other prizewinners included Kelly Darroch, Chloe Tough, Emma Morrison and Nina Cavan.

Mr McDonald added: “I just want to thank everybody who was involved in and supported the event, and all the people who came down and supported my cause.”

Mr McDonald is currently on a fundraising drive as he prepares to leave for Alaska in the new year, where he will compete for the second time in the Iditarod race.

Known as the “last great race on earth”, it covers over 1000 miles of the roughest, most beautiful terrain the country has to offer. Mr McDonald and his wife Wendy are set to fly out on January 11 to prepare for the race which takes place in March.

Before they go they have organised another couple of local fundraising events, including a bag pack in Asda, Portlethen on January 8 and a sponsored dog walk around Stonehaven on January 9 which leaves from the leisure centre car park at 12 noon.

More information and sponsor sheets are available from Melanie Cargill at Dirty Rascals Dog Grooming, Bridgefield.