By Nigel Koenen
A group of approximately 14 people met in the National Trust car park on a lovely morning and after deliberation, about possible weather changes, set off over the river on a track that I remembered cycling up on one of John Lymer's ski club mountain bike trips. We had a stop at Ingleborough cave [which is a show cave] where the water finally appears 7 weeks after flowing down Gaping Gill pothole. We climbed up through the white limestone scenery, not unlike the white peak area of Derbyshire. We passed under 2 sheer rock faces narrowing to a scramble out at the end: Trow Gill [these 2 faces are well used climbing pitches] and finally ascending through Clapham Bottoms up past a myriad of small pot holes to the great Gaping Gill Pot itself.
We took another rest just above the entrance. However Brian Richardson and the writer clambered down to the pot entrance itself, where Brian lent out into the abyss to capture the required photos. Luckily he didn't fall; as the camera he was using was actually mine!!!
We then slogged up to Ingleborough common where a foretell of the later disaster to unfold occurred. Roy walking along reading his map and not looking where he was going stumbled and fell but he was OK. I had noticed as we were nearing the top that Steve Wardle had been walking studying his global positioning device and suddenly he was down; his head smashing into a sharp rock. We could see right away a very deep gash to his hairline and blood was starting to pour out. Luckily he had been on a first aid course and was carrying a very comprehensive first aid kit which was utilised for swabs. His head was bandaged up, until he looked like a war veteran, but blood still seemed to be ouzing,out. At this time Anne was on her phone trying to get a mountain rescue chopper in [which would have been great for some photos]. However when the rescue guy on phone didn’t know where Clapham was we decided to split party and initinally Brian Richardson, Dave Shepherd and writer took Steve down in case he fainted. We were joined later by Helen Richardson and Anne. Brian took Steve to hospital [many thanks Brian] where he got immediate treatment.
The other seven members with Dave and Vanessa leading, finished the route with no problems. After nice tea and scones the writer and Dave Shepherd left for home. The moral of this is always look where you are walking, but a reassuring bynote is come along on ski club hike day and you will probably have a great day. Even if it all goes wrong we will still get you back down in one piece!!
Thanks go to David Miller for organising such an interesting walk and a thoroughly enjoyable day.