A dramatic gesture seals the deal for top dog

A LEADING sled-dog racer has used a uniquely Scottish bargaining tool to broker a deal for a new world-class racing dog.Aviemore businessman Alan Stewart embarked on a shopping trip to Austria with a difference, armed only with some of Speyside’s finest whisky to buy a high-class Alaskan Husky.The animal, five-year-old female Too Slow, arrived safely back at Mr Stewart’s Cairngorm Sleddog Centre in Rothiemurchus at the weekend. He shelled out 67 bottles of whisky from The Macallan distillery as a trade for the dog – and a 42-year-old cask barrel was thrown in as a clincher.Mr Stewart had contacted long-time friend and famous musher Dr Gerhard Offer to ask if he had any of his prized pack of dogs for sale, following the end of the racing season earlier this year.The query led to Too Slow being transferred from Dr Offer’s Austrian base to Mr Stewart’s at the foot of the Cairngorms. But instead of asking for a cash deal, Dr Offer suggested the unusual method of payment.Upon returning to the strath with his new arrival, Mr Stewart said he hoped the addition of Too Slow would give his pack a new edge come the start of the new winter racing season.“I then spoke to The Macallan and they gave me a very good deal,” he said. “I offered around 67 bottles of whisky and an old 1965 cask barrel in exchange for Too Slow, and Gerhard was more than happy to accept.”He added: “To be honest, the dog was worth a lot more than the cost of the whisky I gave to Gerhard, but money wasn’t an issue to him. He was more concerned about where she would end up and he knew Too Slow will be well looked after and a much-loved addition to our centre.”During the week-long trip, Mr Stewart also visited Germany-based friend Heini Winters, another leading name in the world of sled-dog racing, to purchase a second Alaskan Husky.This time money swapped hands, resulting in five-year-old male Lidl joining Too Slow on the 18-hour ferry journey back to Scotland. The pair are not best of friends yet and are still fighting over who is top dog.Lidl has been one of Mr Winters’ leading lights on the competitive North American racing circuit for the last few years.Mr Stewart added: “Both of my new dogs are in amazing shape, as they came from two of the very best sled-dog racers in Europe, if not the world. I met them years ago whilst competing, and we have been friends ever since.”The centre is also due to feature in a BBC TV programme, ‘Mountains’, hosted by comedian Gryff Rhys Jones, to be aired over the summer.


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