West Midlands: Birmingham boating parade

The Commonwealth Games are coming to Birmingham this summer and there are many events taking place. As part of the Birmingham 2022 Festival, celebrating the people, history and stories of our canals, CRT, the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS ) and the IWA are organising a parade of boats on the weekend of 24th – 26th June in the City Centre to celebrate boating and the canal heritage of the city. On Friday 24th, boats will gather at a rally organised by BCNS at Smethwick Locks in Galton Valley, where moorings will be available. The following day, boaters will travel into the city and the boat parade will form between Birmingham Roundhouse and Icknield Port. It will then pass through the heart of the city to the Mailbox, returning to moor for the night between the Roundhouse and Icknield Port. The parade will be repeated on the Sunday morning. Entry is free of charge for boaters taking part and each boat will receive a commemorative plaque. Boaters are being asked to showcase and celebrate their crafts and the waterways ‘in the most fun way possible’. Entry forms are available from https://bcnsociety.com/event/commonwealthgamescruise.

CRT is preparing activities around the canal network, detailed on its website
at https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/about-us/where-we-work/west-midlands/commonwealth-games-2022. There are ‘signposts’ off this page to Volunteering, Community Programmes and #games on, whatever that means!
CRT is improving moorings in many areas and, nearer the time, a moorings map will be produced with details of the arrangements. There may need to be some restrictions for security reasons but, I am informed, these will be few. There will be a canoe event and a fishing event at some stage. CRT is very keen to showcase the canals as the spotlight will be on them as the games site is adjacent to Perry Barr locks at Perry Bar Stadium. The Trust manager has told me that they want to get their housekeeping right and encourage the life and colour that boats bring to the area. There is scant information about what facilities, if any, there will be for boaters who want to visit the games by boat and get nearer than The BCN Main line. I will be keeping an eye on the CRT website for further information which may be further promulgated in future NABO News.

Peter Braybrook
West Midlands Representative