Self-Catering Holidays at Britain's World ChampionshipsIt's so hard to choose where to go for a weekend break in the UK. There are few corners of this fine country that don't offer visitors stunning views, historic houses, idyllic villages, buzzing towns, moorland and beautiful beaches (phew!). But why not book a short break in a holiday cottage that includes a morning or an afternoon spectating at a World Championship. Britain has so many, from bog snorkelling to worm charming. You wouldn't believe just how extreme we Brits can be when it comes to doing something totally bonkers while taking it totally seriously. Laugh through you may, they all provide unique and eminently watchable experiences around which to build a short holiday. You might even want to enter one as a competitor!
Here's a list of our favourites - together with some suitably world class self-catering cottages in which to enjoy your evenings away from the sport of the day.
Let's kick off our list with the funniest sounding world championship! Its surprisingly descriptive too.
The World Bog Snorkelling Championships
This event will take place on Sunday the 28th August 2016. Lonely Planet described it as "one of the top 50 must do things from around the world". But what is it? In case you hadn't worked it out already, this Championship is a very long, deep ditch cut into a bog in Llanwrtyd Wells, Mid-Wales. As a competitor you must swim two lengths of the 55m long water-filled ditch as fast as you can! But there's a catch, obviously. You must wear a snorkel and flippers, AND you cannot use conventional swimming strokes.
This weird tradition *cough* sorry - sport, started in 1985 and has been going strong ever since, raising money for charity and getting people very cold and wet! The current world champion is Kirsty Johnson with a time of 1m 22s. Not bad!
Does it end there? Hell, no! If you come a day early you get to enjoy Mountain Bike Bogsnorkelling, or even the gruelling Bogsnorkelling Triathlon. I'll leave the mental images up to you for these. Of course you don't need to get wet to enjoy this event! There are plenty of attractions nearby to keep you occupied including fancy dress, food and drink stalls, crafts, a bouncy castle, live music and an ale and cider bar!
Fancy giving it a go? Check out the World Bog Snorkelling Championships official site here
The World Worm Charming Championships
We're going from physically gruelling to mentally gruelling now! Do not be tricked by the title into thinking this is a silly bit of fun! There are 18 very serious rules that govern this annual event near Nantwich. One of which is "competitors who do not wish to handle worms may appoint a "gillie" to do so for them!" No messing about!
Each competitor is given a 3x3 metre plot in which they can do basically anything to the ground in order to get worms to come to the surface! Once caught they are popped into a cosy container to await counting before being released (after the birds have gone to sleep!) The worms might be slow, but you can't be! The current world record set in 2009 is for 567 worms! Out of 3 metres squared!
If you want to take part this year, you must sign up fast. The charming begins in June 2016. Find out more on their site! www.wormcharming.co.uk
The World Conker Championships
Are you looking for a faster paced activity? Well… This might not be what you are after, but we think it's a great day out! A well organised set of rules govern this championship in Southwick, Northamptonshire, to make for smashing sport. Don't go thinking about filling your conker with rocks though as all laces and nuts are to be supplied by the Ashton Conker Club. Yeah, it's a thing.
British Pedal Car Championship
Here's something a bit more up my street with speed, engineering, endurance and whacky designs. The pedal racing calendar does not just take up one day and has been going for 20 years! There isn't a whole lot more to say about this, the only thing to do is check out the site and go watch a race! Or better. Compete. There are plenty of venues including Shrewsbury and Curborough (although the latter is a 7-hour endurance!)
The World Bottle Smashing Tournament
Every year the Cairn o Mohr Winery in Errol has a few left over bottles. And what better way of dealing with this problem than handing them to people having a bad week and telling them to lob the unsuspecting bottle at a suspended stone! Players are given 7 bottles and must stand 13 metres from a 2ft diameter rock held between a safety net. Nobody has managed to smash more than 4 bottles in one round before!
If you want to take part, just show up on the day and register before 12:30 - You can find out more on their site: The World Bottle SmashingTournament
British Firework Championships
How about a competition you probably won't be allowed to take part in! The annual British Fireworks Competition is held in Plymouth each summer and pits the best of the best UK fireworks display companies against a team of judges and a huuuuge crowd picnicking on Plymouth Hoe - a wonderful vantage point. I can't think of a better way to get a fantastic fireworks display
The Bognor Birdman
Here's another one you'll want to watch, but probably not get involved in! The Birdman is a competition for human powered flying machines! Or… falling machines. Taking place in the beautiful looking, but not so beautiful sounding, Bognor Regis on England's south coast. This is a fantastic and frequently hilarious spectator sport as you watch countless shivering pilots crash and recover their elegant or outrageous designs from the ocean.
Gloucestershire Cheese Rolling
Perhaps the stupidest, most dangerous championship on our list! So much so that it was stopped for a few years due to the amount of injuries. This ridiculous competition involves hurling yourself down a very steep muddy hill after a large wheel of cheese. Catching the cheese is impossible of course, but getting to the bottom of the hill and crossing the finish line the fastest will award you… 'The Cheese'.