Gaping Gill's main chamberIt’s big enough to hold York Minster and contains the tallest unbroken waterfall in England.

Gaping Gill's main chamber

Usually, it’s a dark world open only to the skilled few who have the knowledge and experience to pierce the subterranean bowels of the Yorkshire Dales, but twice a year, mere mortals have the chance to explore its wonders. It’s Gaping Gill and it’s yours for a tenner.

Or, at least the trip down its 105m-deep main shaft costs £10 (return!) on the winch set up by Bradford Pothole Club. Traditionally, the Bradford club sets up its winch at the Whitsun bank holiday and its Craven counterpart takes the August holiday weekend. Each offers members of the public a trip underground to what was, until 1999, believed to be the biggest underground cavern in Britain.

A visitor descends on the winch Derbyshire’s Titan took the title, but a trip down the venerable Gaping Gill is still an unforgettable experience. The winch opens fully to the public this Saturday, 24 May, and is on the go until 30 May, when club members start to dismantle the equipment.

A visitor descends on the winch

Details are on the BPC website. You can also read grough’s account of a descent on the Gaping Gill winch.

The pothole is on the lower flanks of Ingleborough, and is best approached from Clapham either by Long Lane or by paying a small fee and walking through the Clapdale estate, home of the Ingleborough show cave, which is connected to Gaping Gill.

Expect to get a bit wet going down, and wear warm clothing; you might have to wait a while to re-ascend.

If the weather turns particularly wet, the club may have to suspend the winch service, so check in Clapham village if you don’t want a wasted walk.