Treat your skin to a gunge plunge

25th August 2006 at 01:00

Why not just bog off this bank holiday? It's not such a rude suggestion, because Monday August 28 sees the 21st annual world bog snorkelling championships in Powys, mid-Wales. Competitors, wearing flippers, mask and, of course, snorkel, have to complete two 60-metre lengths in a specially cut trench in the Waen Rhydd peat bog, without using any conventional swimming strokes.

Lured by the promise of an afternoon swallowing mud, people come from Australia, Europe and America to take part and clock up some remarkably fast times in four categories: world, women's, junior and local champions.

Llanwrtyd Wells, which hosts the championships, claims to be the smallest town in Britain, but it seems to have the biggest imagination for fund-raising events - it is also home to the Saturnalia Wobble, the man v horse marathon and Morris in the Forest. Perhaps it's something they put in the beer. More information: 01591 610 666,


This may have been the summer that camping became cool, but savvy campers have long known the Camping and Caravanning Club (0845 1307631,, gives access to a wealth of information and campsites across Britain. Members will celebrate the end of summer with the National Feast of Lanterns 2006 at the Cheshire Agricultural Showground, Tabley, from September 1-3. This event attracts up to 10,000 campers every year, with free outdoor games and an indoor marquee with disco and karaoke for children, and lots of other entertainment for families. The highlight of the weekend is a mardi gras and light display.

Booking: 0845 130 7257.


The National Trust's family wildlife programme, which introduces children to badgers and barn owls, reptiles such as the endangered great crested newt and insects such as the emperor butterfly and the hawk moth, continues all over the country. At a three-day festival of water creatures at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire this weekend, children can spot 18 species of dragonflies and damselflies on the waterways as part of a series of special tours organised by the Dragonfly Project group (August 26-28, 11am and 2.30pm, adults and children pound;6, 01733 204 286).

At Lyme Park in Cheshire, night safaris on September 8 and 15 at 7.15pm will go looking for foxes, bats and deer (pound;20, booking essential on 01663 762 023), while moth evenings take place at Clumber Park in Nottinghamshire (September 2, 6.30pm, pound;3, bring a torch, booking essential on 01909 476 592) and Buckland Abbey in Devon (September 23, 6.30pm, adults pound;5, children pound;2.50, booking essential on 01822 853 607). For a full list, visit and select the "wildlife, countryside coast" theme, or call 0870 458 4000.


The people behind Extreeme Adventure might not be able to spell, but they have slung up the newest and highest rope course in Britain in New Wood, near Weasenham, Norfolk. There are 20 different activities to experience while 20ft-40ft up in the 100-year-old trees, including a 45ft 3G swing (where up to three people at a time can experience g-force), an 80ft descender jump and a 1,000ft-long zip wire, which is the nearest most of us will get to flying like Superman. Under-10s can scramble over a free mini obstacle course and anyone can enjoy a woodland walk through the forest itself. The ropes course and 3G swing cost pound;20 per adult, pound;18 for 10 to 18-year-olds. The 85ft fan descender and 1,000ft zip wire cost pound;6 each or pound;10 for both. Details and booking: 07775 593 477 or 01328 838 720,


September is often a time for resolutions. Keeping up with old friends or the new ones you made on holiday this year might become easier with, a website designed to help people plan meetings in places they don't know. Enter the postcodes or addresses for you and whoever you are meeting and you will be taken to a list of venues in the area that falls midway between the two of you. You can plan a day or a weekend with activities, somewhere to stay and places to eat, and save your schedule on the website where it can be accessed for future changes. When it is finished, email it to your friend, who will also receive maps and an itinerary for your trip.

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