Bog Snorkelling


Photograph by Juri T.

Bog Snorkelling

Llanwrtyd Wells


For most people, drowning in mud is an unpleasant idea. But for the locals of the village of Llanwrtyd Wells it’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. And not only is Llanwrtyd Wells the home of immersing yourself in wastewater, but it also hosts the annual world championships. That’s right, there are people out there who actually compete at social exclusion.

Of course it all seems a bit of a laugh until you submerge yourself in freezing, stinking, Welsh bog water. Under the rules of bog snorkelling you are not allowed to use a recognised swimming stroke; but it is conventional to panic, kick wildly with your feet and scream into your snorkel at the thought that you are shortly to die, miles from civilisation at the bottom of a Welsh bog. Many participants like to bargain with God that if He lets you get out of this alive He can take your mother instead. She’s old and it’s her turn. And if she dies, you’ll get the house, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.

Interestingly, Llanwrtyd Wells is also the host of the equally absurd annual Man Vs Horse cross-country race. Over a course of 22 miles, men race against horses. Yes, real ones. If you fancy a wager on it, here’s a hot tip: bet on the horses.