Llanwrtyd Wells has long held the title for being the smallest town in Britain, but perhaps a new accolade should be added, as it certainly deserves an award for ‘most unusual events’. The local tourist economy used to rely on the popularity of pony trekking in the area, and when that declined, a group of local businesses got together to form ‘Green Events’ in the 1970’s. The organisation has continued to develop since then, and is now well known for the annual program of quirky events it puts on in the Llanwrtyd Wells area, which includes the sport of Bog Snorkelling.
If you think that sounds messy, then you’d be right, as the sport of bog snorkelling takes place in a water filled trench, cut from a peat bog. Those competing, have to complete two lengths of the trench, which measures 60 yards, and the winner is the competitor with the shortest time. There is however a catch, as you can’t swim down the trench in a normal fashion, you have to use snorkels and flippers.
The Green Events team hold their bog snorkelling events at the Waen Rhydd Peat Bog, said to be 6 foot in depth. There are currently 3 different types of bog snorkelling events, which seem to be growing in popularity, both in terms of participant and spectator numbers.
The Bog Snorkelling Triathlon involves a 7.5 mile run, 2 lengths of the peat bog, and a 19 mile cycle ride. Open to individuals and teams, there’s also a shorter version for juniors. There’s also the World Bog Snorkelling Championships, which attracts local, national, and international participants, all competing to be the quickest bog snorkeller. These two events are both part of the 2012 World Alternative Games, but are not the most challenging events on offer.
Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling is also part of the Green Events schedule, and is certainly an interesting challenge. Competitors in this event have to ride through the trench on a special mountain bike. This bike has had its frame filled with lead, and its tyres filled with water, to ensure a safe grip on the bog floor. Riders are equipped with a helmet and snorkel, along with a lead weight belt to ensure they don’t float away.
Other events this company put on in the Llanwrtyd Wells area include Drovers Walks, which follow the well trodden paths through the countryside that the drovers used to follow with their sheep and cattle. There’s also the Man Versus Horse Marathon, the Welsh Open Stone Skimming Championships, and the Real Ale Wobble. Many of these events came about after discussions over a drink in the local pub, and yet they all seem to work. Green Events are a team that have sought to make the most of their town and surrounding countryside, and do it in the most unique way possible. If you’re looking for a different activity while on a visit to Wales, this would certainly be a good place to start.