Belfast Telegraph

Bog snorkelling event is one of UK's quirkiest

By Linda Stewart

It's one of the most bizarre — and mucky — dates in Northern Ireland’s calendar.

But the Northern Ireland Bog Snorkelling Championships have made it to the big time. The event has just been shortlisted in the Britain’s Quirkiest Event category of the Countryfile Magazine Awards 2012.

That means it’s up against peculiar events like the World Stone Skimming Championship at Argyll and Bute, Devon’s International Worm Charming Festival and the Snail Racing Championships in Norfolk.

The snorkelling event is now in its eighth year and attracts competitors from all over Ireland, who converge on the Peatlands Park in Tyrone each summer to test their mettle in a mucky bog drain.

Colin Gates, NIEA assistant warden, says there is a serious side to the sport, which takes place on July 29 as part of International Bog Day.

“Bogs are now some of the richest areas of natural vegetation remaining in Ireland. International Bog Day is a great way to highlight the plight of peat bogs, 96% of which have been destroyed since 1945,” he said.

Now it’s up to the public to decide whether bog snorkelling is named Britain’s Quirkiest Event. To vote, visit www.countryfile.com/awardsvote.

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