Thursday morning sunshine saw us setting off for the rest of the journey to Froghall: slow, winding, narrow and lovely. But the height gauge at Consall Forge lock – even though known to be highly pessimistic – confirmed what we’d known all along… we were never going to get Song & Dance through Froghall Tunnel. Well, not without taking off all the cratch, filling the water tanks and finding some extra ballast somewhere. And even then, not without losing a substantial amount of the shiny new paintwork.
We were soon at the tunnel mouth, and the winding hole for cowards like us. The basin at the far side of the tunnel looked just as idyllic and inviting as before, but realistically there was no way – Andy Irvine would just have to wait until we had a traditional boat some six inches lower than Song & Dance.
We noticed that the nice wharf building had turned into a rather nice café, and someone was running a trip boat through the tunnel and up to the Black Lion. Hope it goes well with them, even if hearing the grinding and crunching as they went through the tunnel reinforced the correctness of our decision not to even try!
While partaking of coffee at the café, it seemed that the missing bits for the boat had arrived, and someone was coming out to finish off things. Scrounging a lift back to the factory to collect our car, the engineer’s SatNav took us on a lengthy but highly scenic route back to Knypersely via all sorts of high Staffordshire moorland. Coming back on the A roads was positively dull by comparison.
Dinner was taken at the recently refurbished Railway Inn, where a chance conversation elicited the fact that we were only about 6 miles from Alton Towers. The geography around here is hard to get your head round!