Snorkling, most people envision wildly colored coral reefs and incredibly beautiful fish swirling around them. Not in Wales, where snorkeling has been taken to new heights or should I say new lows? A 60 meter long and 1,5 meter deep trench dug into a pleasantly sodden field somewhere in the Welsh hills is the competition ground for the one and only World Championships Bogsnorkling.
Bog snorkeling? Yes that’s right: with the aid of fins, masks and snorkels participants do a 120 meter back-and-forth in muddy, very muddy water without using regular swimming strokes. As the underwater viz is about zero the mask mostly functions as a way to keep deep brown water out of your eyes. And hey, it looks great too!
Upon coming to Llanwrtyd Wells [Google Earth], a small town with 700 inhabitants in the middle of Wales, I only had to follow signs “To the bog” or “Bog not very far now!”. Easy as one, two, three but I did end up in the middle of nowhere (though it has a name apperently: the Waen Rhydd Peat bog, Google Earth) but apparently that’s where I had to be. A small two pound fee for the farmer whose field was being plowed in an uncontrolled manor (read: damaged) by many a car was the only exchange of currency for this event. All was free to enjoy and so was the field where it was quite difficult to see the difference between water and the grass as it was completely soaked after this year’s awful summer. Nice, end of August and still up to my ankles in mud.
But who cares? I haven’t had so much fun in quite a while with all these guys jumping in and trying to make it as fast as possible (and it’s rough snorkeling such a length I can tell you from the exhausted look on the snorkelers faces. It’s just one of these things you gotta see!