Gaping Gill, Clapham

#8 of 10 in Nature in Yorkshire Dales National Park
Gaping Gill is a natural cave in North Yorkshire, England. It is one of the unmistakable landmarks on the southern slopes of Ingleborough – a 98m deep pothole with the stream Fell Beck flowing into it. After falling through one of the largest known underground chambers in Britain, the water disappears into the bouldery floor and eventually resurges adjacent to Ingleborough Cave.The shaft was the deepest known in Britain, until Titan in Derbyshire was discovered in 1999. Gaping Gill still retains the records for the highest unbroken waterfall in England and the largest underground chamber naturally open to the surface.FeaturesDue to the number of entrances which connect into the cave, many different routes through and around the system are possible. Other entrances include Jib Tunnel, Disappointment Pot, Stream Passage Pot, Bar Pot, Hensler's Pot, Corky's Pot, Rat Hole, and Flood Entrance Pot.The Bradford Pothole Club around Whitsun May Bank Holiday, and the Craven Pothole Club around August Bank Holiday, each set up a winch above the shaft to provide a ride to the bottom and back out again for any member of the public who pays a fee.
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61 reviews
  • You will struggle to beat the experience of being winched down gaping gill. It's incredible from start to finish and worth every penny of the £15. A must do.  more »
  • Amazing experience! I haven't been there since I was a kid so took my 8 year old this year. The hike to Gaping Gill is fairly straight forward. Be prepared for a bit of a wait to head down into the Ca...  more »
  • Book a place to stay overnight well in advance. Set off walking with a torch at about 3.oclock am to get an early place in the queue. Well worth the effort. You need to be reasonably healthy for the c...  more »
  • An awe of a cave. Waterfall in to the cave. Its a trek from car park about an hour. Couple of companies do a winch for a week in the year so worthwhile checking dates. First few days mega busy then not so busy. Go early in the morning. Great experience. No climbing or caving experience required.
  • You can descend into another world on one of the winch days towards the end of May and August (any other day it's just some water - and the occasional sheep - falling into a deep dark hole). A thrill ride unlike any other, you are dropped through a water fall and into a cavern that could hold York Minster. Take waterproofs and get there as early as you can (it takes over an hour to walk uphill from Clapham). Most days only 150 people can make the trip (200 on the weekend when they operate the winch for an extra 2 hours). Cavers (but not general members of the public) are allowed to camp overnight on site, so there can be 30 people in the queue first thing in the morning. Cavers are also crawling in from side passages and then wanting winched out which can create a bottleneck of people waiting to be lifted out. We got there at 11.30 on a Monday morning thinking it wouldn't be too busy and were among the last 20 people allowed down that day after a 3.5 hour wait (time enough for a picnic atop Ingleborough). It started to rain heavily on the walk afterwards back to Clapham and I remembered one of the cavers saying the year before the cave filled with water 20 feet deep, swirling like a giant washing machine. An awesome experience.
  • If you're going for the chair lift, make sure to get there at as close to 8am as possible to avoid hours of queuing
  • Only available 2 weeks of the year. A great experience to be winched through a small entrance parallel to the waterfall into a spectacular cave below. Be prepared to wait after an hours walk up from Clapham village we waited 3 hours for our turn on the winch down. It also took another hour to be lifted back out. It's a temporary site so no creature comforts but there was a toilet tent, which came in handy during the long wait. The caving club that run the event are all real enthusiasts and this is evident in the whole set up.
  • I'd like to come back and have the opportunity to go down. Although trying to peak from the top was terrifying enough for me.

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