ITS A BIG BOG
A MAD WORLD TO MEANDER,
A MERRY TIME TO BE HAD
How do you like your swim? Mellow, moving or mad. At the World Bog Snorkelling Championships just outside of Llanwrtyd Wells in the Welsh Cambrian Mountains you can have it all 3 ways and more. Here you'll find a 120-yard course of prime bog water in a long trench churned up and smelling just dandy by the time the 30th person is about to enter. Not to fear the scent of the water is the mark of the event. It is downright earthy and a lot of fun.
We'll use our own experience to shed light on what you can expect. In August 2016 we arrived early enabling the late Paul Jickells to be first to register meaning he was the first to swim, which we did not anticipate happening. Before the swim we absorbed the vibe surrounding the parked cars and vans, the organization amid the tents and the impending fun and madness of bog snorkelling as others queued to register. There were supermen and super woman, mermaids, boatmen, BOGCHICK, ballooned bog snorkellers, the serious, a Red Bull swimmer, Swedish, German, New Zealand and Australian Nationals all ready to try out Welsh humour and fun for the day. And so, it was Paul suited up and got into the bog as the first snorkeller of the day.
He was relaxed and confident of a good time and with the rules of play explained he readied himself for the whistle. Hand on the pole and looking straight down the bog he was off.
People yelled, clapped and roared with laughter and joy as proceedings got under way. Few knew that these bogs were river Wye waters that flow into the Wye via the Irfon a tributary of the Wye, which made this event all the more revealing to us. This though was a distant thought whilst Paul was Bog Snorkelling along the120 yard course. He stopped a couple of times because his snorkel came off, gathered himself at the top end and continued with the intent of relaxing into it. This he did and as we cheered him home the time 1.41 resounded to the approval of many knowing it to be a good time.
Lots of others were to come and all with different approaches and motives and some with charitable objectives the times also would get quicker but as Paul said later his fins came out of a charity shop and were way too small to get near the leading times, which were only 15 seconds or so ahead. With this and his on and off snorkel he figured he could have either won it or found himself on the podium so to speak. Having said this he enjoyed the occasion and soon relinquished the idea of place in favour of staying on to enjoy the event as a whole, which included music.
Throughout people were friendly, keen and engaging. The Swedish team, for example, were more than happy to share their comradery and flag with all who would hug or hunker down for a photo, the German couple were very loving, the Red Bull chap was loaded with camera gear and Superman and Superwoman were having a super time as they laughed their way through the day amid Sinbad who was raising money for a charity who had looked after his friend before passing away. Sounds a bit doomist but there was plenty of life here all encouraged by the fantastic organizers and MC Lily Pink who kept proceedings going with a warm and wacky welcome akin to Welsh hospitality and humour.
Located beside the Cledan brook and cut into the Waen Rhydd peat bog waters that gather here eventually flow into the Irfon 2KM to the North East and then the Wye 18 KM further West. It's a prime Wye watershed amid peat bog that retains a huge amount of Carbon. A valuable eco system it's over looked by the Garn Wen at 511 meters or 1,676 Ft.