CaRT ignore Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Birmingham

Published: Wednesday, 03 August 2022

AS ALLAN Richards has observed CaRT have much to be embarrassed about, writes Andrew Bailes.

As the husband of a volunteer in the excellent Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony in Birmingham, I watched the whole thing on the BBC last week.

I had been forewarned to look for a section of canal and a pair of lock gates when the set was revealed, as well as that boat mooring was to be allowed along the route of the Baton Carriers, so ought to appear in the TV coverage. That this second possibility existed at all is, of course, courtesy of NABO's prompt intervention.

Imitation waterway!

So, when the cameras cut to the stadium the canal was there centre stage—complete with brick wall, graffiti, lock gates and an ankle-deep curved pool of presumably cold but clean water in which a German ballet troupe frolicked and across which Simon Le Bon walked to join the rest of Duran Duran.

I looked in vain for a famous blue sign, or any sign at all of the Canal & River Trust's having had a hand in this international representation of our inland waterways.

I also waited in vain for any of Birmingham's renowned and historic narrowboats to appear in the promotional videos and cutaways during the ceremony itself. Nor did any appear in the footage from the Baton Carriers, unless I missed that bit.

In an organisation almost entirely dedicated to self-promotion, this failure ought to have caused some red faces at HQ.

On a brighter note

On a brighter note, I have just returned from a visit to family in Devon, where we booked a trip on the Tiverton Canal, travelling courtesy of Tiverton Canal Company (Grand Western Canal) and their horse-drawn barge.

There is nary a blue sign on this 11 miles waterway, it belonging to the County Council, who seem to have done a fine job preserving it in water (lots of deep, clean, navigable water) and simultaneously as a nature reserve and community resource.

I would like to highly recommend a visit to anyone suffering from the sad symptoms of a surfeit of blue signs.

Here's a link to the Canal Co. for your info: