Belfast Telegraph

Who knew a trip to the bog could be such fun?

By Lindy McDowell

In a world dominated by health and safety advice on our every breathing moment, where we are plied with everything from disinfectant wipes to ward off potential bacterial intake to hand gels for every occasion, there’s something sort of uplifting and reassuring about the bog-snorkellers.

At Peatlands Park, Co Armagh, at the weekend, dozens of competitors threw themselves (literally) into the 2010 Bog Snorkelling Championships.

This involved “swimming” two lengths of a 60-yard drain cut into the turf and filled with a sort of black soup of bracken, muck and other stuff that doesn’t bear thinking about.

The trick is, apparently, not to use conventional swimming moves. And a wetsuit, while not compulsory, is recommended. Looking at the gunge, it’s obvious why that would be an idea.

We’re told that the competition was invented “as a fun way to raise awareness about bog lands and their unique beauty and biodiversity”.

And not only did all competitors survive getting down and dirty in the bog, they all looked surprisingly happy to be up to their eyeballs in, well, biodiversity. Heaven knows, though, what the showers looked like afterwards.

Really bogging.

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