Date & Time: 20th August 2007. 10 am start.

Location of Start : Clapham Village, Yorkshire, Uk. ( SD 746 693 )

Places visited : Clapham, Ingleborough Cave, Trow Gill, Gaping Gill, Ingleborough lower and higher summits, Simon Fell, Gaping Gill again and back to Clapham.

Walk details : 10 mls, 2275 ft of ascent , 9 hrs including the ascent of Ingleborough and the descent of Gaping Gill pothole.

Highest point : Ingleborough top 2369 ft ( 724m )

Walked with : Ann and 16 other Online Fellwalking Club members, plus six dogs,

Weather : Fine and dry.

Most of the group pose for an official photo in Clapham Beck Valley.



An OFC meet in Yorkshire meant an early start for us, but the weather forecast was predicting a fine day.

Early sunshine complimented this view of Skiddaw from the Whinlatter viewpoint on the way over to pick up John at St Johns in the Vale.

Clapham is a delightful Yorkshire stone built village on what was the old A65 route from Settle to Kirby Lonsdale and Kendal. It has now been by-passed and normality has once again returned to village life.

Liz had arranged a meeting point for 10 am at the National Park car park in the village, from where we would start our walk. Having made good time over from the Lakes, we took the opportunity for an extra breakfast of tea and toast to the New Inn. What a great way to start a walk - it feels like being on holiday !

Barrie pauses on the footbridge over the Clapham Beck.
In the trees, the classic village church.
The energetic falls at the top end of the village . . .
. . . and the still waters of the mill-pond lake behind.

Meet the crowd . . .

Dave Brown, Steve, Lorraine, Phil, Dave Dimmock, Paul, Jill, Chris, Jo, Liz, Ann, Barrie, Neil, David Rowland, Josie and myself.

Photo by John on my camera - many thanks . . . Who's not in the shot . . . John of course and Edmund, Paul's brother.

The Clapham valley was delightful, the walk starting through the woodland, past the lake and gradually up into limestone country.

The river up here has drained from the side of Ingleborough and has passed through the cave systems of the valley before re-emerging next to the show cave entrance, just up ahead by the white minibus.

The main entrance to the show caves.
. . . and their useful information board.

The caves are amongst the finest in England and well worth a visit.

Our planned walk today did not include a stop-over so we must leave that experience till another day.

Further up, the river is underground and the classic limestone valley bottom is completely dry.

When the river did run above ground it carved out a fine ravine known as Trow Gill.

The path took us up through the cleft, up what would have been an old waterfall, and out onto the moorland above.

Not far now to our first objective.

The first real limestone pothole on the open hillside above Trow Gill is known as Bar Pot. This is part of the Gaping Gill system and provided dry, if rather muddy access to the main chamber of Gaping Gill Pot.

In the event of the main cave being closed, it would appear that this would be the emergency exit - a reassuring piece of information.

Paul is down at the entrance to read the notice.

He could have waited and read it here !

This was the first extensive section of several limestone pavements we met as we walked across the lower slopes of the hill.

Round the corner, and tucked in the valley above the main cave entrance, a veritable village of tents.

The Craven Pothole Club have set up a winch and chair system and was offering the chance for us mere mortals to descend into the cave over the holiday period.

Descent is free by the way , but they charge £10 in advance for the winch back up !!

The very well organised winch meet, with visitors and regular cavers waiting on the lower platform for their turn to descend.

To enable the winch to work, the club have diverted the river into the adjacent cave entrance known as the Rat Hole, leaving the main pot almost dry.

The plan was to stop off and visit the main cave system and then climb Ingleborough fell afterwards.

Due to demand there was a two to three hour delay on descents so we booked our tickets and rather than wait we decided to continue on and climb the hill.

We could then visit the cave on the way back - what a good plan !

Leaving the 'village' we took the broad path up towards Ingleborough top.

To the south, the distinctive top of another of Yorkshire's three peaks - Pen-y-Ghent.

To the west, the high ground is Pendle Hill where we walked as a club on the Wainwright Weekend last January.

The path becomes stepped as we start the main climb . . .
. . . but good pitched stones protect the path from erosion.

Our two retrievers at the half round wind shelter on the lower summit.

Do you get the impression that the wind blows mainly from one direction up here ?

Just the other side of the shelter wall, Jill looks for the Lake District ( it's behind you Jill . . . )

Click here or on the photo above to see the full 360 panorama.

No stopping here - lunch at the top is the plan.

Despite knowing that Ingleborough has a table-top shape, the plateau is still unexpectedly flat like Cross Fell in the Pennines.

Ahead were the summit cairn, the squared stone shelter, and the trig point over to the left.

Jo making her way over to the secondary cairn, on the western side of the summit.

Here we found a second wind shelter and a nice spot for lunch.

Due to the light breeze, an light extra layer was all that was needed and we were able to sit outside the shelter and enjoy the view.

The path up from Ingleton Village.
More limestone outcrops on the distant White Scar Fell.

The third peak of the 'Yorkshire Three Peaks' is Whernside, seen here across the Doe Valley.

Zooming in on the sunny top of Whernside.

At the head of the valley, the famous Ribblehead Viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle railway line.

Lunch over, we walked the perimeter of the summit and headed off towards Simon Fell, off to the north east.

The escarpment is made of hard grit stone rock which has protected the softer limestone below and consequently preserved the high ground that is now Ingleborough Fell.

Neil obviously enjoying his day out as he starts down the descent path.

Part way down the dogs take advantage of a sink hole which had gathered a deep pool of water.

The surface rock can't be limestone as it wouldn't hold the water, so it was probably due to a subterranean collapse of rock below.

Lorraine leads the middle group down the rough path from the top.

We are now losing height rapidly as we leave the summit and follow the path alongside Simon Fell.

Turning south, leaving the Horton path to continue on over the stile,

we make our way across the moorland grass following a minor track back towards the cave.

In the village we spot this delightfully environmental tent design.

Back to the cave entrance and we get ready for our turn to descend.

The pot holing club provided us with a safety hat and advised waterproofs and an extra layer of clothing for warmth. It was going to be quite cool down there, and the river hadn't been completely blocked so we might just get a little damp on our descent !

Liz, who organised the meet and who had done the descent before

bravely volunteered to be 'dog lady' and look after all the hounds.

All except this one - the Craven Club Mascot
Jackets and helmet on, our group wait to descend.

Click here or on the photo for sound and a short video of the descent.

( 1.5 min video should open a new window and play in your Windows Media Player)

( It may take a minute or so to download on slower connection speeds - please be patient )

@ 2007

Drama now as the chair brings another person down from the sky.
Below, our two lady tour guides, identifiable by their wings !

The Craven Pothole Club not only organise the winch system, they also organised a number of guides to explain the cave system to us and to show us around the main chamber of the pothole, 340 feet below ground. At any one time they have about eight members busy working and a rota system for hourly changeovers of staff, hence the need for all the tents above ground.

They had also organised a power supply and a few well placed floodlights to illuminate the cave so we could appreciate the vastness of the cavern into which we had just descended.

The spots of water caught in the flash of the camera reflected the dampness of the cave as Fell Beck re-entered the cavern and cascaded down from the roof. The boson's chair deposited us within twenty feet of the base of the falls, where the water crashes into the stoney cave floor and sets up strong buffeting winds which kept the spray floating in the air. It certainly was damp close up.

The high rock ceiling reflect the distant floodlights
A small group of people wait by another.

A beam of light from a cave club member's torch illuminates the walls opposite as our eyes start to get used to the darkness.

The central lamp was behind the main waterfall, which can be seen as a brief curtain of light crashing into the cave floor.

A yellow flood light illuminated the rock opposite . . .
. . . and a more secure stance allows a clearer focus.

Click here or on the photos above for a short video and sounds of the cavern.

( The 20 sec video should open a new window and play in your Windows Media Player)

@ 2007

Soon it was time to return and Ann gets ready in the boson's chair . . .
. . . before rapidly disappearing skyward again.

Click here or on the photos above for a short video as I follow her up.

( The 1 min video should open a new window and play in your Windows Media Player)

( It may take a minute or so to download on slower connection speeds - please be patient )

@ 2007

Elation and heightened emotions as we make the surface again and are re-united with our owners !

Well done Liz - and excellent experience underground - and well done the Craven Club too for enabling us to visit to the deepest open pothole cave in Britain.

All that remained was to return via Long Lane to the village.
Ann and Liz turn the corner for home.

Beside Ingleborough Hall, the track drops down and into two short tunnels.

This really has been a day for going underground !

After a great day out we adjourned to the New Inn for a meal.

(l to r) Phil, Paul, Neil, Dave and Josie, Barrie, Liz with the pint and Edmund.

At the bar, Chris, Dave and Paul.

Seated are Jill, David, Phil, Neil, Josie and Barrie again.

Finally one of Jill, with John taking a picture of his beer glass . . .

or is he just having a quick preview of his pictures?

- - - o o o - - -

Technical note: Pictures taken with a Canon Ixus Digital camera.

Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.

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Previous walk - 16th August 2007 Longsleddale and Grey Crag

A previous time up here - 20th January 2007 A Wainwright Celebration Weekend at Pendle

Next walk - 24th August 2007 Two Loweswater Walks