Gaping Gill cave set to open to the public

By Aine Fox, Press Association
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Gaping Gill cave set to open to the public

One of the longest and most complex cave systems in the UK opens just twice a year.

Adventurers will get the chance to explore one of Britain’s largest caves as it opens to the public once again.

Gaping Gill in Yorkshire opens just twice a year, giving a glimpse into one of the longest and most complex cave systems in the UK.

Visiting cavers can travel to the site near Ingleborough Cave in the Yorkshire Dales and be winched down from a hole in the roof into the 129-metre long main chamber.

The first successful descent into the cave was made in 1895 by Frenchman Edouard Martel, who used a rope ladder and a candle.

The entrance to Gaping Gill (Danny Lawson/PA)

Nowadays the main chamber is floodlit but visitors can use a torch to explore the nooks and crannies of the cave.

A potholer is winched into Gaping Gill (Danny Lawson/PA)

Fell Beck stream, which pours over rock above and crashes to the floor of the cave creating a waterfall, is temporarily diverted by a makeshift dam to allow visitors to explore the cavern.

Press Association photographer Danny Lawson, who got a sneak peek when he was lowered 110 metres down, described it as “massively impressive”.

A potholer abseils into the cavern (Danny Lawson/PA)

He said: “It’s a completely surreal experience as you descend into the abyss. It’s pitch black at first before your eyes gradually adjust. And it’s like an echo chamber so you can hear the water running nearby. It’s massively impressive.”

The cave is next open between May 25 and 31.