Keep cycling until you're too drunk to care

Or you could try swimming the length of a rather mucky ditch. Rupert Isaacson on the Real Ale Wobble and Bog snorkelling

If mountain biking has always seemed a little on the serious side for you - too much panting uphill and getting muddy - you might want to give this a try: cycling from pub to pub through the Welsh hills until you are too drunk to care about the mud and exhaustion, or about being seen getting off and pushing. The Real Ale Wobble is a once-a-year charity event organised by the Neuadd Arms Hotel in Llanwrtyd Wells (which, with a population of 600, claims to be Britain's smallest town). It's about as silly as it gets as, for an pounds 8 entry fee, you cycle up through forestry plantations drinking Felinfoel's Double Dragon and Tomas Watkins's bitter at set places among the trees. The 25-mile off-road route is clearly marked, so that even with double vision you would have a hard time getting lost. The routes have to be off-road, not because it makes for a harder cycle, though that is certainly the case, but because the police get upset with cyclists drinking free beer along the public roadways.

However, the hotel will now organise private Real Ale Wobbles for groups of around 10 people, laying on the beer for as little as pounds 5 per head. Nobody cares if you fall off, nobody cares if you need to stop to pee every few hundred yards. The only thing the guide does care about is that you make it home. But that is the beauty of a Real Ale Wobble; you can drink as much as you like (pretty much) but it is unlikely that you will get too drunk to manage the bike. The exercise you get in between the drinking stops is generally enough to work off the booze from one session to the next. So in fact, you can go away for a serious weekend's beer drinking and come back fitter than you went away, or at least without having put on any weight. If you feel at the end of a day in the forests that you have not drunk enough, the hotel serves the same real ales, so you can make up for lost drinking time in the interim between washing off the mud and sweat and dropping down with exhaustion after the day. Twenty-five miles off-road is enough for anyone, beer or no beer.

The Real Ale Wobble is not the only silly thing organised by the Neuadd Arms Hotel. It also hosts Britain's annual 20-mile mountain-bike bog-leaping point to point, held in conjunction with its bog snorkelling championship. Bog snorkelling is a truly pagan affair. Every August bank holiday, people flock from all over Wales (and increasingly, from England) to enter the bog snorkelling race. The original bog, up on the mountain above the hotel, has had a 200ft-long trench cut into it.

Competitors must swim two lengths, face-down, using only a snorkel to breathe in water which Mr Green, the hotel owner, describes as "pretty dirty". You are expected to provide your own snorkel and flippers and to be in reasonably good physical shape. You'll need to be to win. The fastest time so far is two minutes, 11 seconds for the two lengths, a record set by a member of an English all-girl underwater hockey (a sport known as Octopushy) team. In the second week of every August, the hotel also organises its Red Kite Bash, with a bike-dismantling limbo contest, bike footy and bike polo and, for the really suicidal, chainless downhill.

If you don't want to get quite so frantic, the hotel also offers guided and self-guided mountain biking on your bike or the hotel's through the Cambrian mountains. These can be anything from short pootles in the forest to 50 mile-a-day epics.

After all this it seems irrelevant to say how beautiful the hills around Llanwrtyd Wells are. There are deer in the forests, red kites and buzzards circling over the hillsides. Even peregrines occasionally flap out of the craggier sections of hillside, screaming at you to bugger off away from their nesting grounds.

FACT FILE

Contacts

Neuadd Arms Hotel, Llanwrtyd Wells, Powys, LD5 4RB, (tel: 01591) 610236

Season

Year round for Wobbling. August bank holiday weekend only for bog snorkelling.

Accommodation

14 double, 6 single rooms.

Tariffs

Real Ale Wobbles for a group of 10 cost about pounds 5 per head, including beer. Bike hire is pounds 14 per day or pounds 50 per week.B&B, pounds 18 to pounds 23 per day; full board pounds 30 per day. Discounts for children and groups available.

Booking

pounds 25 deposit per person, balance due 6 weeks before holiday. Cancellation charge of 50 per cent of total cost if notice received more than 4 weeks in advance, 75% if less than 4 weeks.

Insurance

Clients must have their own insurance

Safety

On you own head be it. The bikes are regularly serviced though

Access The nicest way to get to Llanwrtyd Wells is by train on the Heart of Wales Line that runs between Swansea and Shrewsbury. The hotel will pick up from the station. Be aware, however, that trains do not run on Sundays. Llanwrtyd Well lies on the A483 about half-an-hour west of Builth Wells.

Suggested Topics
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
people
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Swiss guards stand in the Sistine Chapel, which is to be lit, and protected, by 7,000 LEDs
art

The Sistine Chapel is set to be illuminated with thousands of LEDs

Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
News
i100
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
people
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Arts and Entertainment
Kristen Scott Thomas in Electra at the Old Vic
theatreReview: Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent in a five-star performance of ‘Electra’
Life and Style
Couples who boast about their relationship have been condemned as the most annoying Facebook users
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
News
i100
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Service Charge Accountant

    30,000 to 35,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: We are currently recruiting on...

    Management Accountant

    28,000 to 32,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our client, a hospitality busi...

    Food and Beverage Cost Controller

    18,000 to 20,000 per annum: Accountancy Action: Our fantastic leisure client i...

    Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive

    £20 - 24k: Guru Careers: A Marketing Analyst / Marketing Executive is needed t...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?