About this time of year, the eyes of the world turn to a sodden field in mid Wales for the Bog Snorkelling World Championship. Part of the season of mad cap events known as the World Alternative Games. A couple of years ago I managed to land a commission from the Times to cover the 2 day event. My brief was to capture the characters, the mud, the snorkelling and the overall essence of the weekend. I thought it might make good blog worthy material.
A glorious morning, garlands hung, safety fences checked, burgers and gourmet coffee vans in situ, PA system working, the scene was set. All that was needed was hundreds of people to stream in past the bright warning on the entrance gate.
I even managed to get some pics featured in the ‘50 water adventures before you die’ by the adventurer Lia Ditton where it came in at no1! Whether this relates to proximity to death or not is unclear. This also means that it can be viewed on the ‘look inside’ feature of the amazon listing. As Lia puts it “ Enter a World Championship sporting event without any training whatsoever. Turn up in fancy dress. Participate hungover, sleep deprived or even between drinks. When it’s your turn, launch yourself theatrically into the muddy water and snorkel the 60 yards down the bog as fast as you can. Snorkel the 60 yards back trying not to laugh while half under water, and aim for the middle of the channel. Emerge with an amusing story that you can tell for the rest of your life!”
People had literally travelled from the other side of the world for this. Big in Australia- Children’s TV presenter Amberley Lobo here stealing the show with her balloon costume and owning the bog like only a TV presenter can. I managed to entice her away from the crowds just long enough to get some shots showing off her costume and the surrounding countryside.
Of course something like this taps into the eccentric psyche of the British perfectly and I easily spent half of my time chasing those in fancy dress.
After all that, on Monday morning I picked up my copy of the Times disappointed to see some other world event had taken the front page. Nevertheless the article was nestled nicely within the opening pages in a 'topsy turvy weather' piece opting for the hold your nose and hope for the best image, which, I suppose does some up the experience quite nicely.
And just in case you were wondering, the balloon girl did swim eventually which my wife Zoe managed to catch brilliantly with her camera phone.