Bog snorkelling has become a world famous event with many participants travelling from the far corners of the globe to take part. After watching the 2006 championships, myself, Alastair and Louise all decided to go and take part to see what it was all about.
Firstly no, it’s nothing to do with toilets! The snorkelling takes place in channels cut into a peat bog, and these channels naturally fill with dark, brown and somewhat mysterious looking liquid. Competitors are challenged to snorkel 2 lengths of these 60-yard bogs, but without using any conventional swimming strokes. Fancy dress is also an option with prizes given for the best dressed competitors.
After interviewing a few seasoned veterans for our bog snorkelling video, were all of a sudden rushing around and getting into the bog ready to go. With sponsored ‘funswimshop’ hats on, snorkel mask on top the head and walking around like a right wally in flippers, suddenly I felt nervous! Especially when Louise went first and got a very respectable time of 2min 10sec!
It was soon my turn and I slipped in to the water and dunked my head under – as tipped off by another competitor. On goes the snorkel mask and looking up at the time keeper I was ready to go.
I got the nod and headed off up the bog, kicking for dear life. They don’t lie when they say you cannot see anything through your snorkel! Look down dark brown, look up, light brown! Every now and then I felt myself verging left or right to the boggy walls and quickly righted myself. The first time I looked up expecting the pole to be in front of me (and trying to avoid any embarrassing pole collision moments) I was shocked to see I was only half way to it! Kick harder, kick harder, I thought. I can’t let Louise beat me, no! I finally made it to the half-way pole and started heading back wondering what my time would be, only to be distracted by my calf muscles which were screaming out that they were on fire! I fought my way back to the finish-line, apparently kicking more water out of the bog than anything which didn’t help me to gain anymore speed! I reached the finishing line or big white pole and asked what’s my time?…what’s my time? 2min………… 09 seconds, phew, just beat Louise by a second! Not that I mind losing to a girl – ha ha! – But come on, I would never hear the end of it!
Alastair was up next, and as he left off he went right under – snorkel and all – which probably wasn’t the best way to start but very funny to watch! Struggling up the bog, fighting against a loose snorkel mask which was filling up with water, sampling Wales’s finest brown bog water and probably feeling knackered too he finally retired at the half way mark. There always has to be one, and Al was it this time!
With aching legs and a cool medal around our necks, we headed to the main tent for the prize giving ceremony to the news that the world record had been broken and was a shockingly fast 1min 30sec!! How did he do that?
This was a great event, with a great atmosphere and one of those events you just have to take part in. But it’s not as easy as you may think!
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