Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Where there’s muck, there’s bog snorkelling....

With our wet summer there was no shortage of muck at this year’s Northern Ireland Bog Snorkelling Championship.

The annual event, now in its eighth year and attracting competitors from all over Ireland, was held in Peatlands Park outside Dungannon yesterday as part of International Bog Day.

Competitors had to swim up to two lengths of a 60-yard bog drain with the aid of a snorkel, mask and flippers and without any conventional swimming strokes. There were prizes for the fastest snorkeller, best fancy dress and even the slowest snorkeller.

While a sense of fun was essential for anyone taking part in the extreme challenge, there was a serious side to the event.

Colin Gates, founder of the event and assistant warden with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, said: “Bogs are some of the richest areas of natural vegetation remaining in Ireland. International Bog Day highlights the plight of peat bogs, 96% of which have been destroyed since 1945.”

The event was recently shortlisted in the Britain’s Quirkiest Event category of the Countryfile Magazine Awards 2012.

It’s up against Devon’s International Worm Charming Festival and the Snail Racing Championships in Norfolk. Results of the public vote will be announced in September.

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