Gaping Gill


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The Gaping Gill winch operates twice a year; over the Spring Bank Week at the end of May, run by the Bradford Pothole Club and at the end of August, run by the Craven Pothole Club.

Situated on the SW slopes of Ingleborough at an altitude of 1300ft (400m) above sea level, Fell Beck ends its meandering course abruptly, and plunges 330ft(100m) down into the limestone plateau creating Britainís highest unbroken waterfall. It lands on the floor of Gaping Gill, the largest cavern in Britain, known as the Main Chamber.
The Bradford Pothole Club has held a Winch Meet here for over 60 years, allowing members of the public and non-cavers the chance to visit this truly awe-inspiring underground scene. It is an experience never forgotten and many visitors return year after year, becoming familiar faces to be welcomed back as old friends. The cavern is floodlit, allowing the public and cavers alike a view not normally seen outside Winch Meets. It also enables members of the public to meet cavers and discover that they are surprisingly normal people with just a wild enthusiasm for all places underground.

Google Map View

New! Panoramic view of the Main Chamber by Martin Smith (Click & move around the Chamber with your mouse)

The Gaping Gill system is one of Britainís longest and most complex cave systems. As well as the Main Shaft the system has nineteen other entrances. All these entrances unite underground and the water running through the caves eventually emerges into daylight at Ingleborough Cave, the Show Cave passed on the walk up to Gaping Gill. The connection between the two caves was made in 1983 by cave divers negotiating flooded sections of passages called sumps, using breathing apparatus.
The other entrances are not suitable for inexperienced cavers, who should use the winch.

The next Gaping Gill winch meet is from May 23rd to May 29th 2015

The price of a trip for our 2015 Winch Meet is £15.00 per person.

No pre-booking is possible, descents are in order of numbered tags, issued on the day at Gaping Gill. Ascents are by queueing for the next available winch chair.

Advice for visitors.

Park in Clapham village and allow one and a half hours to walk to Gaping Gill via the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail and Ingleborough Show Cave.
Please bring you own refreshments as none are provided at GG.
Limited refreshments can be obtained at Ingleborough Cave when it is open.
If the winch is not running due to bad weather, a notice will be posted at Ingleborough Show Cave.
We recommend you wear warm waterproof clothing and boots or strong shoes.
We provide helmets and some extra waterproofs are also available (no extra charge).
Bring gloves as your hands will get wet and cold.
Minimum age is 6 at the Leaders discretion. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Maximum weight on the winch is 20 Stone (125Kg).
Although the Main Chamber is floodlit, a torch will add to your fun, enabling you to explore nooks and crannies. Throughout the Main Chamber are strategically placed notice boards, which enable the visitor to explore the cavern without the need for a guide.
Photography is allowed down the hole so do bring a camera, but bear in mind it is very damp underground so care must be taken to avoid damage to electronic equipment .

Large parties are not a good idea at GG, they just cause long queues. Please keep party numbers to a max of 10.

Visiting Cavers.

The Bradford Pothole Club welcomes fellow cavers to our winch meet.

In addition to the winch, during the meet some of the alternative ways into the system may also be rigged for SRT.

Only competent cavers with suitable equipment and who have BCA Insurance may access alternative entrances into the Gaping Gill system. It should be noted that descents/ ascents of those routes landing in the Main Chamber (Main Shaft/ Dihedral/ Rat Hole, etc.) are not permitted.

Any existing rigging should not be tampered with or left in an unsafe condition. Moreover, because full-time policing of the system and the rigging cannot be undertaken by the BPC, if visitors choose to use our equipment it is on the understanding that they do this entirely at their own risk.

Cavers entering the system using any of the alternative entrances should leave details on the signing-in board at the GG booking-in tent.

Anyone who plans to use the winch to enter or exit the system must book in, pay the usual fee of £12 and collect a numbered tag.

For further Information, email Dave Brook (spam cloaked email, remove "removethis) from the address or telephone 01484 683260

Professional film or photography requests require 6 weeks notice.

NO pets are allowed down Gaping Gill, please arrange your own pet babysitter, as we do not offer this service.

Please try and avoid leaving your dog tied up and yapping its head off for the duration of your visit underground!





See how we set up the winch or visit the GG Gallery




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