Ingleborough and Gaping Gill

Over the last 15 years I’ve made a fair number of trips north from Plymouth heading to visit relatives in St Helens or further on for holidays in the Lakes. Not once did I head east of the M6 to see any of the sights on offer in the Yorkshire Dales, this it would seem was a bit of an error on my part. Its fantastic and the limestone areas are worth a visit on their own. We managed 3 walks in 4 days whilst we were here, not bad for the middle of March and enjoyed each one. We started off with the obvious one, Ingleborough. This is a brilliant mountain and this walk takes in all the best parts of it. The fact that a cold snap had hit northern Britain in the week running up to, and during, our visit, meant that we had snow underfoot and falling from the sky, plenty of icy ground and huge clouds which parted for some nice sunny bits. Gaping Gill needs to be seen to appreciate what happens in this part of the world, the streams and becks (in this case Fell Beck) pass over and wear through the limestone, then drop for dozens of metres under ground before flowing out elsewhere. In the case of Gaping Gill the cave underneath involves a drop of around 100metres to the bottom, meaning the waterfall is the highest in England but the water drops before it reaches the opening itself of Gaping Gill. After Gaping Gill comes, what for me, was a real highlight, the narrowing of the valley into Trow Gill. Now a huge wooded dry limestone ravine, Trow Gill was believed to be an underground cavern formed by a beck which now takes an alternative route through Ingleborough Cave and Gaping Gill. At some point in time the roof of this cavern is believed to have collapsed, although some say it could have been a glacial meltwater channel. The whole place is a real treat to walk in for the first time and I would recommend at least a few days in the area around Settle/Skipton to see some of the best parts. Its fantastic.

Start – Ingleton

Route – Crina Bottom – Red Gait Head – Quaking Pot – Ingleborough – Gaping Gill – Clapham Bottoms – Trow Gill – Ingleborough Cave – Clapham – Newby Cote – Crooklands – Slatenber – Ingleton

Distance – 12 miles    Start time – 10.15am   Time taken – 6hrs 45mins Highest Point – Ingleborough 724 metres

Weather – Snow, hail, icy, sunshine, cloud down on the summit, hardly any wind, perfect.

© Crown copyright 2023 Ordnance Survey FL 2023 SF
We first had headed to visit Linda’s parents near to Blackpool, we took in a visit. I can’t remember the last time I was here, possibly late 90s or early 2000s. Well as you can see it was a bit of a damp day, blustery as well. Although the posts are meant to be like that!
Photo of myself and my beautiful girl plus Blackpool Tower
We had driven about an hour over to Ingleton, the village itself was very quiet and we got some simple roadside parking before booting up and heading off up the hill to join the path out to Crina Bottom. Linda has her hood up because it has started snowing.
You can see the flakes of snow in the picture and the cloud is low. At this point I wasn’t overly hopeful of any clear views and the forecast has snow/hail by mid afternoon
The path quickly becomes and walled lane, I was struggling to get going at this point and seemed to be lagging behind Linda on most of this section as my chest struggled to adjust to the cold temperatures
Oh hello, the cloud starts to lift a little behind us and far right you can just make out Morecambe Bay
Ahead of us it still looks very bleak
Crina Bottom and its B&B of the same name in the trees. The summit of Ingleborough tries to clear the cloud at the back but never quite managed it all day. The limestone pavement makes its first appearance on this walk with White Scars up to the left
Not open today
Looking back down from Red Gait Head more of Lancashire now in view and a clear cloud base forming
Two of the other pot holes around Quaking Pot, I think you can descend this one to get into Quaking Pot but I might be wrong on that. Its not something I will be doing!!
Quaking Pot
After the short detour to see the pot holes we started off again for Ingleborough. We were following a class of school kids and all I could think of was how lucky they were to be doing this.
Ingleborough Common below us now and heading into more snowy territory, the path was still very good though, with plenty of grip
We are about to head into the clouds now so I take of last look across towards Burn Moor and the area near to Clapham
Linda heads off up to the summit as we start the last steep pull up, plenty of snow and some fantastic walking here
We had passed the school kids who had stopped down there, got out their shelters and ate their lunch. They were well prepared for the conditions and the adults sensibly thought a lunch away from the summit and in a protected dip a better option.
Two happy walkers at the summit, now for a sarnie in the summit shelter, which we had all to ourselves. In fact we only saw about 25 people all day, the group of school kids, a organised walk group of five, two that touched the summit and ran off again and 3 on the way down.
Lunch spot, the cosy summit shelter
As we leave the top, I look back at a bleak summit area
We were heading down towards Gaping Gill, every now and then the cloud parted to give us views across Clapham Bents towards Horton in Ribblesdale, we got the odd view to Pen y Ghent from this side as well.
Our route, again the path was good and grip was also very good considering the occasional ice and snow
Heading towards Gaping Gill along the slabbed path, the snow was falling again from pretty much the last photo all the way to Gaping Gill
Gaping Gill, the stones that Linda is standing on were very slippy but with extreme care we crossed over, the water also disappears just to Linda’s left here down a hole and into the caves below, falling around 100 metres.
Looking into Gaping Gill
The info board and Gaping Gill
Heading towards Trow Gill now, we’ve a number of other pot holes and some limestone pavement is around us
Now this is were it gets a bit exciting, you can see the path drops away a bit here but it doesn’t really prepare you for what is to come
Trow Gill, Linda for some perspective. A huge dry wooded limestone ravine
And from a bit further out
Snow falling again as we head towards Ingleborough Cave, it looked really spooky along this section, however behind me……
… skies. It was like a different world depending on which way you faced
The bridge by Ingleborough Cave
And the cave entrance itself, the £13 to gain entry seemed a bit steep
Down the lanes towards Clapham now, the sun is making an appearance for the final 4 miles along to Ingleton
Plenty of blue sky above us as we walk the lanes back to Ingleton.
And finally a photo as we drove back towards Blackpool. ingleborough still with its stubborn hat of cloud and some lovely sunshine to finish the day with. The end of a perfect walking day, so much to see and glad I finally got to walk in limestone country.

15 thoughts on “Ingleborough and Gaping Gill

  1. You might be impressed to know that I’ve actually walked up Ingleborough. It was on a hot day in May, so conditions a bit different to your experience. You were brave getting up there in that weather. The Dales are beautiful though. We used to go camping there quite a bit, but don’t visit as much now that we have a caravan in Cumbria. Hopefully might manage a walk this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Been up Ingleborough twice, once via Gaping Gill – a great walk. I didn’t get as close to the edge of the pothole as you though! If you are back there at some point the Ingleton waterfalls trail is worth doing, though can be busy and you have to pay. It’s a lovely little walk though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I did wonder if you had to pay for Ingleton, which was why I added Janet Foss to our walk around Malham. Looking at the maps there are plenty of waterfalls in the area which might be as good


    • It will be in the best walks of the year for sure this one, I knew nothing about Trow Gill so it was a complete surprise on the way back down. So much to see on this walk and all of it was superb

      Liked by 1 person

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