|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