You can walk from Clapham (LA2 8EQ) to the cave entrance in about 1hr 30 along a well marked but rough path.
On the way up you will pass the entrance to Ingleborough Show Cave. This separate attraction (well worth visiting) has no connection with the Gaping Gill Winch Meet / Caving Clubs.
Google Maps location.
There can be long waits and although you cannot book in advance once you have booked in you can explore Ingleborough rather than having to wait at the entrance. When it is busy (or there is very heavy rain (which makes the descent unpleasant) and the chair does not run, we will try to make information available in Clapham and on the Twitter feed.
There are plenty of places to stay locally and Clapham has an excellent community shop.
This year Yorkshire is hosting EuroSpeleo - the largest cave conference in Europe (only held every few years). This will be the week before our Winch Meet, which we are opening specially for the conference (ie it will not be open to the public that week).
The CPC is a long established Dales Caving Club (est. 1929), with its base in Horton.
If you are interested in starting to cave / joining us, talk to our members at the booking in tent or visit our web site.
The main site has more information about Gaping Gill (We've been visting these caves for 85 years).
2016 Opening Times
Saturday August 20th & Sunday August 21st: First descent at 08:00 am.
Monday August 22th to Friday August 26th inclusive: First descent at 09:00 am.
Saturday August 27th & Sunday August 28th: First descent at 08:00 am.
Monday August 29th (Bank Holiday): First descent at 08:00 am: the winch ONLY operates in the morning as the dismantling of the equipment begins at noon. Please arrive at Gaping Gill and register by 08:30 am to ensure your descent.
Descent Fee: £15 per person (and return!).
Minimum Age - The minimum age is 7 years (at the Leader's discretion). Children must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
Booking - We are unable to take advanced bookings. Book a descent as soon as you arrive at Gaping Gill by visiting the tent next to the winch. On booking you will be given a numbered wrist band and advised of your approximate descent time.
The winch has a fixed descent/ascent capacity of about twenty persons per hour, which may result in extended waits at peak times.
Winch Closed Sign - If we have to close the winch for any reason, a sign will be displayed at Ingleborough Cave. The Show Cave is a separate attraction and has no connection with the Gaping Gill Winch Meet. The show cave staff are not responsible for our decision to close the winch.
The walk to Gaping Gill - Gaping Gill can only be reached on foot. Allow 1½ hours for the walk from Clapham village via the Estate Nature Trail and Ingleborough Show Cave.
Camping - Only members of the Craven Pothole Club are permitted to camp at Gaping Gill. The landowner does not permit camping on the fell. There are campsites, bunkhouses and B & B’s in and around Clapham village.Toilet facilities - There are public toilet facilities at the public car park in Clapham. At Gaping Gill we provide basic toilet and hand washing facilities.
The Weather - Will the winch be operating?
What to Wear - Hopefully it will be a great day for your visit however Gaping Gill is located on the open moor where the weather on the surface can be very different to that in Clapham village. We recommend you wear / bring warm, waterproof clothing and boots/strong shoes.
The ride on the winch takes about a minute each way and is often accompanied by a slight spray from the nearby waterfall. During busy periods you will queue to ascend in the chair, so you’ll need that warm clothing.
Safety Helmet - We provide safety helmets.
Lighting / Torches - We provide subdued lighting in some areas of the Main Chamber and our guides are equipped with lights, but please bring a torch or headlamp if you wish.
Photography - It is well worth recording your visit for the family album and some fine pictures can be obtained using a hand held camera with flash. The Main Chamber always contains spray from the waterfall: take some means of protecting expensive equipment when it’s not in use.
Refreshments - There are no facilities to provide refreshments at Gaping Gill, so bring a packed lunch. There is an excellent village store in Clapham and refreshments can be obtained during opening hours at Ingleborough show cave on your walk up.
GETTING TO GAPING GILL
Gaping Gill is situated on the lower slopes of Ingleborough Hill in the Yorkshire Dales and can only be reached on foot. The best place to start is from the village of Clapham.
By car, Clapham is within easy reach of many popular Yorkshire Dales and Lake District holiday destinations. The village is located just off the A65, between Settle and Ingleton.
Clapham railway station is a short walk from the village centre, providing services from Leeds, Bradford, Skipton, Carnforth and Lancaster. Local bus services provide links with Skipton, Settle, Ingleton and Lancaster.
Cars can be left in the National Park car park in the centre of the village. From the car park, take the lane following the stream up through the village to the start of the Nature Trail (small admission charge) through the Estate.
As you follow the footpath through the estate and head for the summit of Ingleborough, you cannot fail to be drawn by some of caving's most famous sites. The source of the village's stream soon becomes apparent, emerging from the low arch of the aptly named Beckhead Cave.
To the left, under an imposing arch of limestone is the entrance to Ingleborough Cave. These two are connected, forming the lowest accessible sections of the Gaping Gill – Ingleborough Cave system. This marks the beginning (or more accurately) the end of an extensive system of galleries and caverns that reach out under the roots of Ingleborough.
To see more climb upwards through the ravine of Trow Gill. Here, water flows silently beneath you as Gaping Gill becomes Ingleborough Cave and passes under the scars of Clapham Bottoms (right).
On reaching the fell wall, the obvious rocky hole on your left with a fringe of small trees, is Bar Pot, one of the dry upper entrances of the system often used by cavers. Soon you come to the large shake hole where Fell Beck, a mature stream in a shallow blind valley, abruptly plunges 340 feet to form Britain’s highest and most spectacular waterfall at Gaping Gill (NGR SD751727)(+54.149500 -002.382500), before beginning its long underground journey to Ingleborough Cave
The Craven Pothole Club welcomes fellow cavers to our summer meet which is spread over three weeks. During the meet the Estate has delegated supervision of access to the system to CPC.
The winch will run in the second week just for EuroSpeleo Congress Delegates and then for the Public week up to the Bank Holiday. Access to the system is restricted on Bank Holiday Monday.
The winch down to the main chamber provides a good starting point for trips not needing SRT. If you wish to go across Mud Hall cows tails are required. Please tell the booking in tent your plans
During the meet some of the other entrances to the system will be rigged for SRT. If you need advice about routes, entrances etc....ask! (This year we will be using Spanset ropes, supplied as part of their sponsorship for EuroSpeleo)
You are welcome to rig other entrances with your own ropes if you wish, but let us know yor plans.
Only competent cavers with appropriate experience and equipment may access the alternative entrances to the system. You are required to have BCA insurance (or equivalent).
If you choose to use our rigging it is on the understanding that this entirely at the users own risk and the usual checks and precautions you would take with any trip are required.
Any existing rigging must not be tampered with. If you have concerns about the rigging (damage etc) please inform the booking in tent.
Cavers entering the system using any of the alternative entrances must sign in (and out) with the booking-in tent. You are expected to leave a callout time when booking in.
Descents / ascents of routes directly into the Main Chamber (Main Shaft / Dihedral / Rat Hole, etc.) are not permitted.
Anyone who wishes to use the winch to enter or (decides while underground to) exit the system is expected to book in, pay the usual fee and collect a numbered bracelet.