The Bog Snorkeling
Summary: Don a wet suit and a snorkel and take a plunge into the slimy, dark bog filled with peat water, awful sludge, black scorpion and who knows what else
Despite the fact that doctors have raised concerns about health effect against this sport, bog snorkeling gained enough popularity to even warrant a world championship of its own. Bog Snorkeling takes place in a 60 yard trench filled with water. This trench is usually cut through a peat bog and filled with water; the water taking the characteristic tan color when heavily saturated with peat bog. Those who take the least time in completing the two consecutive lengths of the 60 yard bog course by snorkeling is declared winner. Wetsuits are often worn, complete with snorkels and flippers, however they are not compulsory. Bog snorkeling also does not allow conventional swimming strokes like the breast stroke.
The World Championship of Bog Snorkeling takes place annually every August on Bank Holiday at the dense Waen Rhydd peat bog near Llanwrtyd Wells in mid Wales. The first World Championship of Bog Snorkeling was first held in 1985. Competitors from different countries don a wet suit and a snorkel and plunge into the slimy, dark bog filled with peat moss, sludge, scorpions, newts, snakes and who knows what else (okay, I’m kidding with the last part). The snorkeler who completes two laps of the 60 yard channel of filth first wins the title. Phillip John of Bridgend was the champion the year 2002, 2003, and 2004 until he was defeated by Ian Hawkes on 2005. Abigail James was the female champion, and Gareth Madelin was the champion for junior bog snorkeling for the years 2003 and 2004.
Other variation of the bog sport also surfaced. Like the mountain bike bog snorkeling where competitors ride with a mountain bike through the bog. The first World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkeling Championship took place in 2000. Since then, it has been a yearly event. Bikes used for this sport are heavily modified, the wheels of which are weighted and the metal structure filled with water. There is also another variation which is the Bog Snorkeling Triathlon.
The Bog Snorkeling Triathlon was launched in July 10, 2005. The triathlon was sponsored by Young’s Bitter. The Bog Snorkeling Traithlon event consists of running on an approximately 12 mile track, then a bog snorkeling of approximately 120 yards through the world famous Bog Trench and a mountain bike ride of approximately 25 miles. The Bog Snorkeling Triathlon have both an individual and a team relay event.
When addressed about bog snorkeling’s health concerns, Gordon Green (the inventor of bog snorkeling) points out that northern bogs (especially upland bogs in Wales) are acidic enough to kill most bacteria. The dark and vicious looking water despite the floating green muck, is safe for swimming as long as there aren’t any dead sheep lying around. True enough, no serious bog snorkelers to date have gotten sick. He even claimed that some natural bogs have fishes in them, particularly trout and chub, although bog swimmers would likely jump out if they see a wicked-looking scorpions. “Oh these scorpions are just harmless”, he says well-naturedly while eyeing rather anxiously on one already clinging to one of the post: a flat, black customer who indeed looked too wicked to be harmless. “They live off bog snorkelers,” Bradburn the local builder nearby remarks straight-faced, as he drives the white wooden stake into the bottom of the bog with a sledgehammer. “This is their one meal of the year.”
*Note: These black water scorpions are really harmless. It is often a specimen in most 5th or 6th grade biology classes.