Winter spectator sports

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  • Professional curling players Vicky Wright and Hazel Smith sweep during a competition
    Professional Scottish curling players Vicky Wright and Hazel Smith
  • Professional curling player David Murdoch, skip of the two successful World Mens Curling Championships for Scotland, in action.
    Professional Scottish curling player David Murdoch during a match
  • A Braehead Clan ice hockey player dribbles the puck during a home game against the Belfast Giants © Al Goold
    A Braehead Clan ice hockey player
  • Fife Flyers players defend the goal during an ice hockey match. Photo supplied by Steve Gunn
    Fife Flyers ice hockey team in action
  • A competitor and four dogs take part in the Aviemore Sled Dog Rally in Glenmore Forest Park, the Highlands
    Aviemore Sled Dog Rally, Glenmore Forest Park, the Highlands

A whole range of fantastic events take place across Scotland year-round and we even keep some of the more exciting ones especially for the colder months. Read on to find out about some spectacular winter sports on offer and discover where you can see them.

Ice hockey

Ice hockey has been played in Scotland for a hundred years and you’ll find venues and clubs across the country. There are a number of regional teams which compete in the UK Elite Ice Hockey League, including the Dundee Stars, Edinburgh Capitals, Fife Flyers and  Glasgow’s Braehead Clan. Or, catch the Solway Sharks at the Dumfries Ice Bowl as they compete in the northern division of the National Ice Hockey League.

Scotland has been known to host major tournaments, including two recent World Championships, the Under 20s Men’s (Division 1B) competition and the Stanley Cup, the most revered trophy in ice hockey.

Why not check out the latest fixtures and get behind one of the teams? You’ll find that ice hockey is relatively low cost and often there are great discounts on family tickets – it’s a fast paced sport that the kids will love to watch.

Curling

While in Scotland discover curling, a sport where the aim of the game is to slide stones across the ice rink to reach target, similar to bowls. Historical evidence suggests it was first played in Scotland during the late medieval period; stones marked with the date 1511 were found in an old pond which had been drained in Dunblane, while the earliest written record of the sport was found at Paisley Abbey dating from 1541.

Today, Scotland has a reputation for producing world-class curling players. Team GB's Olympic curling teams are usually dominated by Scottish athletes and claim medal success at the Winter Games on a number of occasion, including Sochi 2014.

There are 22 ice rinks in Scotland which have facilities for curling with a number having spectating areas where you can watch competitive events. You'll also find a number of curling ponds across the country, some of which are still used when temperatures dip below zero. Curling season generally runs from September to April so if visiting Scotland during these months, check out the competition calendar and try to catch a game.

Sled dog racing

If you’re visiting Scotland between October and March it’s well worth looking at the schedule of sled dog events to see if any races are taking place during your visit.

Sled dog racing has been traditionally been more associated with the Arctic regions of North American and Russia and some northern European countries where snow is more prevalent but in recent years it has had growing interest in the UK, with a designated sled dog centre established in Aviemore. In many places, the sport involves a team of huskies pulling a rider on sled, but in Scotland it’s usually a wheeled rig, which means the sport can be played even when there’s no snow.

Whatever the conditions, the sight of powerful and graceful huskies dashing across woodland is an amazing spectacle to behold. The annual Aviemore Sled Dog Rally takes place over two-days in January in the Cairngorms National Park. Look out for other events taking place in regions such as Fife, Moray and the Scottish Borders and the season generally runs between October and March.

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