Thursday 29th May 2014
Today was just a driving day up to the Yorkshire Dales, followed by a bit of a relaxing.
Friday 30th May 2014
This was to be our second attempt at descending Gaping Gill (Ghyll) using the winch that Bradford Potholing club set up every Spring Bank Holiday (late May). Last year we got there a little late and there was something like a 7 hour queue for the winch, not wanting to hang around that long we decided we’d come back. This time only Emma and myself were able to make the trip, as we’d planned to do it mid-week when it was quieter.
The plan was to go up Wednesday night and walk up to Gaping Gill Thursday morning, but we were running late so decided to drive up to High Bentham where we were camping on Thursday and then go walk up to Gaping Gill Friday morning. Alarm clock set for 6:00, we headed over to Clapham to star the walk up, Clapham was nice and quiet still, and I took this as a good sign that we would be ahead of any crowds. However getting to the entrance of Ingleborough Estate Nature Trail, there were signs up stating that due to technical problems the winch was out of action for the rest of the meet …….. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Turning around to find an open coffee shop we stopped to chat to some other people just starting the walk up. Not able to find an open coffee shop/café we decided to have a walk up to Gaping Gill anyway. It’s a pleasant walk, the first part is along a wide woodland path towards Ingleborough Cave,. \As you come out of the woodland just before the cave, you get to see more of the scenery that you’re in. Then as you get past the cave, the path becomes less maintained (not a bad thing), as it leads up to ‘Trow Gill’, this is quiet an impressive gulley with high side narrowing to a short ascend out up to moorland known as ‘Clapham Bottoms’. From here it’s a short walk to Gaping Gill, Ingleborough is ahead and is always a good option to walk up as well, but we weren’t planning on that today. Arriving at Gaping Gill, it was very quiet up there, only a little movement around the winch area so we thought we’d head on over to have a look, one of the BPC was showing someone the entrance into Gaping Gill, and we were then beckoned to go and have a look afterwards. Just looking down Gaping Gill is amazing, the entrance must be 5 or 6 meters wide and a vertical drop curving as it gets lower. We were stood on the platform where the chair normally lowers from and the very helpful BPC member was chatting to us and telling us more about the cave. After a while we left and started the walk back towards Clapham. Upon reaching the village, we headed off to the café for a warm drink and a sandwich. We might have failed getting down the Gill again but, here’s hoping that next May proves 3rd time lucky.
Having more of the day ahead of us than we expected we thought we’d wander over to Ingleton for a walk around the ‘Ingleton Waterfalls Trail’, I highly recommend this walk, it’s only a 4 1/2 mile walk but seems a lot longer due to the amount of times you’ll stop, It’s neither strenuous or easy, a good middle of the road type of walk, with a number of stepped sections along the path. The walk passes through some stunning scenery, from open fields to narrow gorges, it has a bit of everything thrown in.
Saturday 31st May
WE didn’t feel like doing too much today, but it was Carnival Day in High Bentham, so we went into the village and joined in the festivities for a while before deciding to drive up to ‘Big Stone’ and see how many routes up it we could climb. We then decided to have a drive around to explore the ‘Forest Of Bowland’, it’s not a forest as most would assume as it’s not covered in trees, and most of it is open moorland, although there are some wooded sections, instead the name harks back to a historical era when the area was owned by the sovereign and used as a hunting ground. The roads are quite fun to drive being narrow, twisty and undulating along with the land, and as you reach the end of the road you enter the village of Slaidburn. I’m not going to waffle on too much about this day as it’s not topical to this blog site, but if you fancy a more relaxing day then it’s worth a drive. On the return road though we did come across Gisburn Forest which has a Mountain Bike trail centre, and is definitely somewhere that is now firmly added to the list of places to go and ride.