One small step for Lapal…
IT MIGHT NOT be very big, but it’s a very important moment: this kayak is believed to be the first boat of any time to float on the Lapal Canal at Harborne Wharf, in Selly Oak Park on the south side of Birmingham.
The canoeist, a Lapal Canal Trust member, was taking advantage of the re-watering of the basin following the removal of 2000 cubic metres of soil by civil engineering contractors Careys (who have been working on the adjacent Sainsbury development at Battery Park) as part of their contribution to the community. Thanks to local community volunteers, the canal is now surrounded by flowers, the Trust has also been supported by local and national waterways groups and the Headley Trust. This summer, the next stage of restoration work will be supported by two weeks of Waterway Recovery Group canal camps.
Over the next few years, the Trust hopes to reopen the canal from its junction with the Worcester & Birmingham through the Battery Park site to Harborne Wharf – and allow boaters to access it ( plus a launch site for canoes). reopening of the navigable circuit of the Bow Back Rivers, closed since before the 2012 Games.
However, a slight glitch remains: following railway construction works, Crossrail is proposing to reinstate the channel at only 1.3m (approx 4ft 4in) depth, rather than the 1.5m wanted by the Canal & River Trust – but the disagreement shouldn’t stop opening cruise.
To book your boat’s place on the flotilla, see canalrivertrust.org.uk and follow the links to ‘about us’ then ‘our regions’ and ‘London’.
Boats through the new lock in May?