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Bog Snorkelling in Wales

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Some people like to relax on a day out, others like to explore historical sites – and some people just want to get dirty.

This is certainly the case for those who descend upon the town of Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales each year for the Bog Snorkelling Championship.

Every Bank Holiday in August the town hosts the contest, which sees competitors go head-to-head in a 60-yard peat bog for the coveted title of World Champion Bog Snorkeller.

The festivities have been taking place for 25 years in the smallest town in Britain, which also hosts a man versus horse marathon.

Green Events, a not-for-profit organisation, runs the championship each year, but the original event was started by Gordon Green's Green Events and now attracts hundreds of people from all over the UK.

In 2009, 150 from all over Britain competed in the event, despite the 26C temperatures, swimming in a doggy-paddle mode with a snorkel, mask and flippers through the thick, sludgy mud.

So thick is the mud that some contestants have taken to wearing a wetsuit, while others claim such heavy attire slows them down in the cut-throat competition.

The competition is open to anyone over the age of 14 and costs £15 for adults to enter, £12 for juniors and spectators can watch the muddy madness for free.

Llanwrtyd Wells has built on its reputation for the uncanny and the Powys town now hosts a further 11 events each year, to attract tourists.

Other unusual events include the Loony Festival, in memory of Screaming Lord Sutch, and there is the Real Ale Wobble. This is a mountain bike race, during which contestants stop at several points along the route to sample real ale.

Organiser Tony Bain told Wales Online: "We've got the bog snorkelling and the man- versus-horse marathon so we already hold a couple of world records that put Llanwrtyd Wells as a centre of diverse sports on the world stage."

But for Mr Bain, this is not enough and the town is thinking of hosting a bathtub race in the future.

He explained: "Here in the town we don't like loud noises and we like green events. So bathtub racing will be natural, there won't be any petrol involved.

"It's being worked out at present but how we fit it in and where we do it is still under discussion."

It certainly sounds like a cleaner affair that bog snorkelling.


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