The South East slopes of Ingleborough are more gentle than those of the west - with a gradual approach to the summit that passes a host of internationally important karst features. Trow Gill is a classic example of an abandoned meltwater gorge, and is easily accessible from Clapham. Some 14000 years ago, during the last glaciation, all the major sinks on the limestone plateau beneath Ingleborough were frozen up, and blocked by glacial debris. As the ice began to melt, over thousands of years it formed a torrent that moved over the frozen land, seeking a place to escape and finding a major joint of weakness which it gradually eroded into this famous landscape feature.
Walking back towards Clapham from Trow Gill, a small valley on right reveals the hidden Foxholes Cave. This has produced human and animal remains and is one of the most important archaeological sites in the Three Peaks area. The dry valley in front shows that this is a long abandoned resurgence - the water now having found a new path and exit in its journey underground.
The water that falls into Gaping Gill now emerges from the Great Scar limestone here, at Clapham Beck Head - a short distance south of Foxholes Cave. In normal weather the movement through the passages is extremely constricted. Dye introduced into Gaping Gill can take a number of days to show up in the water here. Movement of the water, is, of course, much more rapid in flood conditions.
In 1837 James Farrer broke through a stalagmite barrier to release the underground lake from Ingleborough Cave - now a superb show cave. The link was only made through to Gaping Gill in the 1980s. There is a small admission charge and it is about a 40 minute walk up through the woods from Clapham. We'll visit it later in the year.
Further downstream, Cathole Syke reveals the basement rocks beneath the Great Scar limestone, brought to the surface by the tilt of the North Craven Fault, and forming a powerful tributary cascade in the wettest conditions.
Here's another view of Cathole Syke - the ancient basement rocks forming the streambed due to the uplift of the Craven Fault, where the limestones above have been eroded away over time. These greywackes are similar to the rocks forming the Norber boulders in the adjacent valley of Crummackdale.
Clapham to Trow Gill. The village of Clapham is just left of centre at the bottom of the photograph, with the lake created by the Farrer family very prominent. Cathole Syke is in the woods by the path just above the northern tip of the lake. Ingleborough Cave is just above and to the right of centre, where the two 'i' points are situated. The path then swings to the left, where the wooded glen of Trow Gill can be seen, again marked by an 'i' point. The limestone scars on the right of the picture are the upper reaches of Norber, with the famous boulders just off the photograph to the right.
Trow Gill and back is a great little stroll from Clapham - especially when it's too misty to climb Ingleborough. Hope you enjoy this special landscape.