Gaping Gill Winch Meet
19th to 27th August 2017 
(BPC meet 27th May to 1pm 2nd June)

The extensive system of caves 100 metres under this moorland are  only accessible to cavers except for a week in May (with Bradford Pothole Club) and a week in August (with Craven Pothole Club) when these caves are made accessible by a winch. Other entrances will be rigged with rope and visiting cavers are invited to use this.
This page is part of the CPC's information for August 2017 and includes information about how to find us and how busy we are (there are links top right, but there is more information if you scroll on down this page).


Walking up to Gaping Gill

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.

Person in chair about to descend

Visiting the Main Chamber

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.

Local information etc

There are plenty of places to stay locally and Clapham has an excellent community shop.

In 2016 Yorkshire hosted EuroSpeleo -  the largest cave conference in Europe (only held every few years). Over 700 cavers from accross Europe visited Gaping Gill. You cn see some of what brought them here. 


The Craven Pothole Club 

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).

Craven Pothole Club's Gaping Gill Winch
Meet FAQs 2017

Downloadable PDF file of following text (opens in new window)

2017 Opening Times (provisional)

Saturday August 19th & Sunday August 20th:  First descent at 09:00 am.

Monday August 21st to Friday August 25th inclusive:  First descent at 09:00 am.

Saturday August 26th & Sunday August 27th:  First descent at 09:00 am.

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? 

The weather is always a consideration when  visiting Gaping Gill. Although we dam the stream, diverting water away from the Main Shaft, prolonged heavy rain may necessitate a temporary pause in winching. Even local forecasts are not always a reliable guide to the weather at Gaping Gill, which can generate its own micro climate. The weather may change in the time it takes to make your journey to the Dales and walk onto the fell.

What to Wear -   Hopefully it will be a great day for your visit, but Gaping Gill is located on an open moor where the weather can be very different from 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 -   We do not have suitable 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.


Gaping Gill is situated on the lower slopes of Ingleborough Hill in the Yorkshire Dales and can only be reached on foot. The best starting point is the village of Clapham.

By car, Clapham is within easy reach of many popular Yorkshire Dales and Lake District holiday locations. The village is just off the A65, between Settle and Ingleton.

Clapham railway station is a short walk from the village, and has 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 will pass some of caving's famous sites. The source of the village's stream soon comes into view, emerging from the low arch of the aptly named Beckhead Cave. To the left, under an imposing limestone arch is the entrance to Ingleborough Cave. These join and form 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 passages and caverns extending under 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

Visiting Cavers

    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 system is open to visiing cavers for the public week but 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! 

    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. 


Thanks for filling out form! Enjoy your visit.