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BCNS Bonfire Gathering 2007

BCNS Bonfire Gathering 3rd/4th November 2007

Swallow moored on the aqueduct for display
(photo courtesy of Tom Stewart)

This year, for the first time,  Swallow attended the Birmingham Canal Navigations Society (BCNS) Bonfire and Gathering at Smethwick.


On Thursday 1st November Swallow (David and Tom) travelled from the Black Country Museum to the Engine Arm via the Old Main Line  in an excellent time of 1 hour 35 mins. We then carried on down the arm and back (another ‘first’ for Swallow), winding at the end with kind assistance of fender maker Jenny Maxwell (‘Black Cat’) as the winding hole is extremely tight!  David stayed aboard doing a few jobs on Friday. 

On Saturday more boats arrived (total attending was over 50, moored on the Old and New Main Lines, and in the Engine Arm itself).   Tom helped organiser Barrie Johnson and crew to move pallets by boat to the bonfire site, which was between Smethwick top lock and the New Main line below.  Swallow was on display as people arrived, moored on the aqueduct, with a number of visitors, while others visited the Pumping Engine nearby.  The event was opened by the Mayor and Mayoress of Sandwell  (Councillor Gurcharan Singh Sidhu.)who arrived by boat as a marching band performed.

We moved back to allow the duck race to take place, and then all gathered to see the huge bonfire lit, followed by a truly spectacular firework display.  By this time Swallow’s crew had grown substantially with many friends arriving and members of the public plus boat crews swelled numbers to over 1000.

BCNS Organisation was excellent with a beer tent, hot food and entertainment as well as the fire and fireworks.

Next day we travelled from Smethwick back to the Museum via Smethwick Jct (very tight turn), the new Main Line, Caggy Stevens’ yard for fuel, then  back via the Brades branch and on to the museum – enjoying Steve’s fry up en route.  It was a most enjoyable trip in lovely weather, with the largest crew ever: David, Steve, Tom, Dean, Paul, Miranda, James, Toni, Oli, Stevie, and Will.  On arrival back at the museum someone fell in (another ‘first’ for Swallow!) but who it was, is for us to know…………!

Many thanks to Barrie and all the BCNS folk for making us all so very welcome.  We shall hopefully return next year as it was a truly great event.

Swallow moored on the aqueduct for display
(photo courtesy of Tom Stewart) 

Admin Snippet

If anyone has photographs of the event (unfortunately we did not take a camera) and would like to send them to admin we will be pleased to add them to this page. Thank you.

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