Hello, my name is Mal Tabb.
Thanks for visiting our web pages. Marion & I operate a small outdoor activity organisation called Canoes, Mountains & Caves. We provide activities for: adults, young people, schools, charities, families & individuals. A key aspect of our work is the provision of a "Community Programme" which is offered free of charge to participants. If you think we might be able to help please don't hesitate to contact us, you can find out more about what we do on our main website www.canoesmountainscaves.com

Monday, 27 August 2012

Gaping Gill via Winch

Looking Up to the Distant Light From the Bottom of Gaping Gill Main Shaft

We went to Gaping Gill today to take advantage of descent & ascent via the winch which had been set up by Craven Pothole Club . August Bank Holiday Monday is the last day of the winch meet & the last ascent is at noon so Alan, Clare, Kevin & myself made an early start to get to Clapham by 07:30. We timed going past Ingleton as just taking one hour from the new base camp which bodes well for future caving trips. Its quite a long walk in from Clapham to Gaping Gill, taking about an hour. However, the reward for getting out of bed at an obscene hour was that we were amongst the first to descend. 

The engineering works undertaken by Craven Pothole Club are truly impressive: damming Fell Beck; extensive scaffolding; winching gear; lighting; the list is endless. 

Gaping Gill is a 340' deep surface shaft on the south slopes of Ingleborough, the water of Fell Beck sinks into the main shaft and resurges at Ingleborough Cave further down the fell. The passages that make up the system are extensive. I've never used the winch before but did visit the bottom of the main shaft a couple of years ago doing the SRT trip from Bar Pot with Paul Richardson - its a good trip but the exit via Bar Pot is quite a tight vertical squeeze. Anyway, the whole winch system runs very efficiently: sign in; take a numbered wrist band; wait for your turn to walk out on to the gantry; get fastened into the chair; an impressive lower into the depths of the shaft with a brief shower on the way down and then a good ratch around the floodlight chamber before the process is reversed. 

For us a leisurely wander back the fell was followed by a visit to Inglesport - bang on lunch time!
Engineering Works for the Winch Meet

Alan Rainford in the Chair

Its difficult to get a true impression of the scale of the scene at the bottom of the shaft

Alan, Kevin & Clare in Gaping Gill


  1. Hi Mal,

    Great write up of Gaping Gill!

    I came across this article (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2199286/British-climbers-drop-nearly-4-000-feet-cave-dubbed-worlds-deadliest.html) which led me to the photographer and his blog (http://www.shonephotography.com/adventure-cave-travel-photography-blog/) looks good!


  2. Hi Billy

    Thanks - we enjoyed the Gaping Gill trip, have been in before but this was the first time via the winch which I thought was well worthwhile.

    The Daily Mail photos are stunning and Robbie's blog is excellent Kay & I have just sat & gone through them both.

    I really want to improve my own underground photography, at the moment just take a camera down and point and shoot - really need to do a bit of reading and then spend some time in a cave or mine playing about with lighting / settings and just trying to learn what works.

    Enjoyed the photos you sent through from your visit to the Paralympics!

    Take Care, Mal