Scottish dog-sledding centre to close after climate change ‘crucified’ business

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Alan Stewart, the owner of Cairngorm Sleddog Centre in the Scottish Highlands, says trails have deteriorated to “liquid mud”.

A dog-sledding centre in the Scottish Highlands says it is having to close down after nearly two decades as climate change has “crucified” the business.

Alan Stewart, the owner of Cairngorm Sleddog Centre, said snowy trails had been turned into mud baths and increasing temperatures meant he could no longer train his dogs properly.

He said the dogs could only run in temperatures below 10C (50F), which used to give him seven months of a year training in the Cairngorm Mountains, but this had been been reduced to three months in the last few years.


                              Scottish dog-sledding centre to close after climate change 'crucified' business

Mr Stewart, who first noticed the changes to the environment seven years ago, said conditions on the trails had deteriorated to “liquid mud”.

“Climate change has crucified us,” he said. “It’s horrendous.

“I live very remote – not like anyone else lives in the UK.

“It’s a way of life. My dogs are my best mates.”

Mr Stewart said snowfall that would usually have been on the ground for several weeks now melts within a matter of hours.


                              Scottish dog-sledding centre to close after climate change 'crucified' business

Trees were also falling over in the saturated ground and blocking the sledding trails, he added.

Scientists have said to expect “a substantial decline” in the amount of snow around Cairngorms National Park – an area larger than Luxembourg – from 2030.

They say it is likely that the area may see no snow at all by 2080.

The park authority is due to hold a climate conference next week.

Cairngorm Sleddog Centre is one of the few sled dog centres in Europe, training dogs to take part in the sport practised in regions inside the Arctic Circle, the European Alps and Patagonia.

Mr Stewart says he has 20 dogs – down from 50 after he stopped breeding due to climate change – and will keep them in kennels until they die.

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