Lonely Planet Writer

In pictures - the World Bog Snorkelling Championship in Wales

Lonely Planet  described it  as one of the top 50 “must do” things from around the world in 2014, and last weekend  proved bog snorkelling is bigger than ever as the annual World Bog Snorkelling Championship took place in Wales.

A competitor makes it to the finish line after wading through the peat bog.
A competitor makes it to the finish line after wading through the peat bog. Image by Joe Giddens/PA

Enthusiasts headed to the Waen Rhydd peat bog near Llanwrtyd Wells yesterday for the unusual competition, which has been taking place for over 30 years.

Competitors must wear snorkels and flippers. Image by: Joe Giddens/PA

The mucky endurance test challenges contestants to swim two lengths of a 55-metre-long trench, with only flippers and a snorkel to help them through the quagmire. Conventional swimming strokes are not allowed. In 2006 there was a ‘bog off’ tiebreak after two snorkellers finished in one minute and 41 seconds, only six seconds behind the world record.

Many of the participants did it in fancy dress. Image by: Joe Giddens/PA

Stella McCartney was unfortunately not on hand to design any of the uniforms, but luckily, contestants came prepared with their own suitably silly costumes.

Chris Lyness, dressed as King Neptune, takes part in the 31st World Bog Snorkelling Championships . Image by: Joe Giddens/PA

Participants can only swim using the doggy paddle as the front crawl and breast stroke are banned by organisers, as are monofins and webbed gloves. Most choose to wear wetsuits but some hardy types do without.

The idea of the event is said to have come from a way to attract more tourists into the town. Image by: Joe Giddens/PA

The event regularly attracts participants from across the world, including France, Germany, Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, USA and Japan.

This weekend marked 31 years of the festival. Image by: Joe Giddens/PA

Run by a team of volunteers, the annual competition is part of a roster of eccentric events held throughout the year at Llanwrtyd Wells, the UK’s smallest town.

The event takes place every August Bank Holiday at Waen Rhydd peat bog. Image by: Joe Giddens/PA