One of the classic's in the United Kingdom, Gaping Gill is dominated by it's Main Shaft leading 360 feet (110m) into it's huge Main Chamber. Gaping Gill was first descended by French speleologist, Edouard-Alfred Martel in 1895 and has been the subject of intense exploration since then with a number of subsidary entrances being discovered and in 1983 the Cave Diving Group made the connection with Ingleborough Cave.
Nowadays the easiest way to access this system is via the winch down the Main Shaft which is operated by the Bradford Pothole Club during the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and the Craven Pothole Club in late August around the late summer Bank Holiday. When the winch is not operating the most popular and easiest route is via Bar Pot, graded "III" (moderate), although that includes a 55' (17m) with an awkward tight bit at the top and a long 120' (37m) pitch. Other routes include Flood Entrance (or Exit) Pot, Stream Passage Pot and Disappointment Pot which are graded "IV" (difficult or severe). Wade's Entrance bypasses the difficult part of Flood Entrance Pot.
Car Pot is a tight pothole nearby with a visual but impassible connection with Brothers Junction in Gaping Gill.
Once in the Main Chamber one of the striking features is the porcellanous band of lighter limestone which can be seen in strata and caves in much of the Yorkshire Dales. Passages lead off from the Main Chamber to the other entrances and at the east end of the Main Chamber, a ladder leads up to Old East Passage, an easy trip to Mud Cavern, the second largest chamber in the Gaping Gill System.
Sand Cavern is also well worth the trip from the Main Chamber.
Casual visitors to Gaping Gill via the winch are advised to remain within the Main Chamber unless accompanied by an experienced caver.
Some 13 miles (21km) of passage including Ingleborough Cave with a vertical range of 630 feet (192m) have now been mapped.