Gaping Gill

Gaping Gill is a famous pothole on the limestone moors flanking Ingleborough just above Clapdale and the village of Clapham.


Gaping Gill can be reached from Clapham by following the footpath through the Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail, passed Ingleborough Cave, through Trow Gill and onto the moorland below Ingleborough.

The walk is 2.62 miles (4.2 km) and takes about 70 minutes

Situated at the bottom of a large crater, Gaping Gill is a yawning abyss which engulfs Fell Beck.
The stream crashes down 365ft into a cathedral-sized main chamber - probably Britain's highest unbroken waterfall.

The extensive system of caves 100 metres under the moorland are usually only accessible to cavers. However, for a week in May (with Bradford Caving Club) and a week in August (with Craven Pothole Club) members of the public can be lowered to the bottom of Gaping Gill on a seat attached to a winch.

A gantry is constructed over the open Main Shaft using aluminium scaffolding poles, and a purpose-made hydraulic winch and its diesel power unit are fixed into place. Fell Beck is dammed to divert water away from the Main Shaft. A gas-powered generator is installed to supply lighting in the Main Chamber and guide, power and communication cables are installed.

More information about Gaping Gill and the Winch Meets can be found on the following websites:

Bradford Pothole Club >>

Craven Pothole Club >>

Guide to Gaping Gill - Bradford Pothole Club >>

The walk from Ingleborough Cave to Gaping Gill

The following photographs of Gaping Gill were taken in June 2020 after several weeks of very little rain.

Normally there is much more water flowing down Fell Beck, the stream that plunges into Gaping Gill.


On the gantry prior to being winched to the bottom of the abyss


Inside the cathedral-sized main chamber


Read Stephen Oldfield's blog for a fantastic description, photos and videos of Gaping Gill >>

To Alfred Wainwright, it was the 'daddy of them all.'  To romantics of earlier centuries it was a fearful place - bottomless - beyond thought of exploration.  To the realists, who were pretty accurate, it emerged down the valley at Clapham Beck Head, and was the entrance to an uncharted maze of passages under Ingleborough.  To modern explorers it is simply 'GG' - the greatest and best-loved pothole in Britain.....