The annual World Bog Snorkelling Championships are set to return this August bank holiday – and that’s as spectacularly bonkers as it sounds. The yearly event, which takes place in the peat bog of Waen Rhydd close to Llanwrtyd Wells in mid Wales, sees otherwise sane adults and children donning flippers, snorkels and masks and racing the length of a 60 yard trench in boggy water up to six feet deep.
The only rules are that contestants must be over the age of 14, must not use standard swimming strokes and must paddle, flail and otherwise splosh their way through the course without lifting their head above the filthy water except to make sure they’re propelling themselves in the right general direction. Prizes are awarded in the Men’s, Women’s and Junior’s categories.
If that were not enough, extra prizes are also awarded for contestants who take part whilst wearing the best fancy dress. Medals are awarded to everyone who gets into the muddy goop and deservedly so.
The event has become increasingly and almost inexplicably, popular over the last twenty years, with competitors reaching into the hundreds and arriving from countries all over the world including China and Australia just to take part.
Llanwrtyd Wells is officially the smallest town in Britain with a population of around just 700 but there are an array of hotels, shops, pubs and restaurants on offer to visitors travelling to the Championships. The town is even home to its very own microbrewery.
Nestled at the foot of the Cambrian Mountains, the area is well-known for its outdoor and adventure sports including rock climbing, mountain biking, canyoneering, horse riding, fishing and hiking. Of course bog snorkelling has to be the most extreme – and surely the most fun.
An entrance fee applies to those who wish to participate in the madness, but spectators are welcome to attend free of charge.
Image: Kipcio by wentuq, on Flickr