Thursday, August 4, 2016

Tubing at Sickman's Mill

The weather here in the summer can get extremely hot and humid, so sometimes it's difficult to find things to do that make the most of the weather but aren't going to make you hot, sweaty and grumpy (mainly Hubby) within 10 minutes of being outside.

Last weekend we found the perfect solution - tubing down a local creek!  We'd done tubing before in the snow whilst skiing in Andorra, but never in the water.  We'd seen a photograph in the paper ages ago and it looked like fun, but we didn't really know if there was anywhere local to try it. Then Hubby found Sickman's Mill - just south of  Lancaster and only about 20 minutes from home. 

Sickman's Mill itself is a 19th century roller mill, powered by the Pequea Creek, on which it sits, to crush and grind grain etc.  The building is 4 1/2 storeys high, with 30" walls, and with a large marquee on the grounds is also a popular wedding venue.

However, with temperatures forecast in the high 90's, we were much more interested in their tubing facilities.  We got there mid-morning, and it was already filling up with cars as others obviously had the same ideas.  After signing safety waivers and paying up, we collected our respective "tubes" - actually huge canvas covered rings - and made our way down to the creek shallows.  Nothing for it at this point but to get wet, as we clambered in and shoved off, joining the current and drifting along peacefully, slowly getting used to having a soggy behind stuck in the water...

Because you set off whenever you wish, you can drift along quite peacefully in solitude, occasionally catching up with other groups depending on the currents you catch and whether or not you manage to ground yourself on the occasional boulders (mainly Hubby).  As it was summer, the water levels were lower than normal, although a good thunder storm the night before helped to swell the waters, and the terrain ranged from tranquil calm to mini rapids, causing minor squeals (mainly me) as you were spun round and round and bounced off the rocks.

So peaceful and cool, driving along with your feet (and behind) in the water, gazing up at the blue sky beyond the tree canopy, listening to the bird song, catching the occasional glimpse of wildlife in the bushes (including a little cat quenching its thirst at the edge of the creek), and befriending the multitude of dragonflies that caught rides on your knee.  

Unfortunately no photos during the trip itself (didn't trust myself with phone or camera whilst literally sitting in a river), but great fun, and although perhaps not as exhilarating as tubing in the snow, definitely less exhausting and more relaxing!

After about an hour or so, we reached a bridge which signalled the end of the ride, and after some mad paddling to the edge, we clambered out and made our way back up the road where a waiting mini bus very conveniently transported us and our tubes back to the Mill.

A lovely way to spend a couple of hours in high summer and well recommended as a way to beat the heat!

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