British Cave Research Association Online Archive

BCRA Online Archive

Gaping Gill material


These photographs were taken during three British Spelelogical Association winch meets - May 1937, May 1939, and June 1946. The first four photographs are from the 1937 winch meet. This was when Eric Hensler discovered the series of passages now named after him, and which were surveyed and photographed on the following two days by Peter Binns, Monty Grainger, Fred Davies, and Peter Longbottom.

The next twelve photographs are from the 1939 winch meet, some of which show some long-lost formations.

The remaining photographs are from the first post-war BSA Winch Meet in June 1946, and have some interesting images of the winch being used. Frank Butterfield tells of Peter's involvement with setting up the 1946 winch on its first post-war outing: "Peter Binns was a hero and we were all nut cases. The wire had not been unwound from the drum for years and little if anything had been done to the winch. We lowered him sitting on a bosun's chair and successfully deposited him on the bottom. Then began the process of getting him out. Part way up and the motor gave up the ghost, leaving Peter in the full force of the Spout Tunnel water, which was running full bore following the rain. He would swing into the jet and be batted towards the other side of the shaft before swinging into the jet and repeating the process. The air was blue and we hand-wound him the rest of the way out. It is a wonder we did not have a death on our hands."

The Yorkshire Post reported that a new metal framed gantry was constructed for the 1946 meet made from the remnants of a burnt-out lorry. There was also a newspaper report that indicates that two winches were on site.

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