RRCPC Newsletter
Volume 45 Number 3 Article 8

August 2008

Gaping Gill

7 June 2008

Paul Thomas

Despite what non cavers believe, during the drive from home to Clapham I was reminded a couple of times by some of the other drivers that the most dangerous part of the day is the drive to and from the Dales. Arriving at the car park a little bit later than planned, but in one piece it was great to see that four others also survived the drive.

The weather was looking good so the water level on the main pitch would be OK.

A plan was agreed that David Lord (CSCA) David Gledhill and I would enter Gapping Gill main entrance and as Ray Duffy wanted the exercise he and Sam Lieberman would enter via Bar Pot and exit via the main shaft.

David Gledhill must also have felt in need of some additional exercise as he insisted on carrying about 200m of rope and his own personal gear up the hill.

The walk up was constantly interrupted by David Lord’s mobile phone which involved David stopping and getting the phone out of the rather huge rucksack that David was carrying. Apart from the phone we never did find out what David had in the rucksack!

Having spilt into two groups at Bar Pot we met a group of walkers from the Environment Agency going to the summit of Inglebrough their plan was to put a group on every hill in the UK at the same time to raise money for WaterAid. Clearly they had heard about the recent water shortage at the farm and we appreciated their help. Meeting the group so close to the entrance created a problem with the younger members of their group becoming very interested in the entrance and they started to get a bit closer than we considered wise and we became concerned that they could beat us to the bottom of the pitch. A few words of encouragement soon had them moving back towards the summit.

The downside of the main entrance into Gapping Gill is that a lot of people want to take your picture and some of them expect you to stop rigging and pose for photographs. The two Davids’ became like a couple of super models posing, and not being able to resist the chance of a photo I waited until David Gledhill got the relay ledge with his camera before starting on the main pitch.

I was glad that I had wet the main pitch rope before the trip, the stop on the very new rope was more a slide than a stop and it got a bit warm. The pitch was a bit damp on the final section but OK.

Once the three of us had got to the Main Chamber, David G then sent some time taking photographs, before we climbed up to the passage leading out of the main chamber. At the top of the climb we met with the Bar Pot two, after a five minute chat, more photos we started towards Bar Pot. Moving hobbit like in the passages we quickly got to the bottom of the Bar Pot Pitch to find a group from Nottingham University descending. On checking if they had used the same rigging bolts for their rope we waited for the pitch to clear before climbing up. David Gledhill still needing more exercise volunteered to de-rig. On the final part of the climb out of the entrance pitch it was good to see that the Nottingham rope had an additional loop to clip our cows tails into allowing us to get off the rope a bit earlier to avoid the tighter head of the pitch. Once organised outside the cave we walked back up to the Main Entrance to find Ray and Sam on the surface and bagging up the rope.

We walked back down the hill past Ingleborough Cave and through the woods. Back at the cars we quickly changed and went for a pint, and I was a bit surprised when David Gledhill came in to the pub with a Tackle bag and even more surprised to find that it was mine and I had left it in the middle of the road.

Overall a fine day out, a pleasant walk with grand views, an inspiring cave that we all knew well so it was like meeting an old friend, great weather and good company.

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