AN experienced paraglider died in a tragic Lake District accident after colliding with a cliff face on Blencathra, an inquest opening has heard.

Tributes were paid to 63-year-old retired school teacher Malcolm Grout, who was known as “Malc”, following his death on Sunday, February 25.

One long-time friend, Gordie Oliver, had said of his 'cherished' pal: “Malc has touched so many in our small flying community. His loss will be felt deeply and the shock of it will take some time to comprehend.”

Mr Grout, of Great Broughton, near Cockermouth, was a well-known member of the paragliding community.

A Great North Air Ambulance Service (GNAAS) had sent medics to assist after witnesses reported seeing his crash, and a spokesman said after the tragedy: “We’d like to send out heartfelt condolences to his family, his friends and the paragliding community he was deep rooted in, who have supported our service in the past.”

An inquest into Mr Grout’s death was opened at Cockermouth Coroners’ Court this morning (Tuesday) when details about the lead-up to the incident emerged.

Assistant coroner for Cumbria, Ms Margaret Taylor, stated: “I have been told that Mr Grout was involved in a paragliding accident in which he had collided with a cliff face.

“He had taken off about one o’clock from the top of Carrock Fell. However, he realised that the wind conditions were too light and therefore landed at the bottom of Carrock Fell and walked up.

"He then waited for wind conditions to improve. He took off again at around 1.15pm from the top of Carrock Fell.

“After take-off he climbed very high into the air and was seen by other paragliders to head off in the south-west direction. His flight plan was to head towards Threlkeld.

"About 30 minutes later, he radioed other paraglider to tell them that he was experiencing sinking air on his way, and he was now at Bannerdale Crags. This was the last communication that anyone had with him.

“Other paragliders stated that the way in which he collided with the cliff makes it seem as though there has been some downwards wind which affected the wings and pushed Malcolm towards the cliff.

"He was found at Sharp Edge along with his parachute, and his helmet was found around 100 metres from him.

“People had seen the crash, and mountain rescue and air ambulance attended to find Mr Grout deceased at Sharp Edge.”

Ms Taylor concluded: “Under all the circumstances it will be necessary to hold an inquest into Mr Grout’s death so I am therefore adjourning this matter today.

"Further enquiries will take place and, providing we have all the information we require, a full inquest will take place on August 1, 2024.”

In its statement after Mr Grout’s death, the GNAAS spokesman had also said: “Our critical care team attended a paragliding accident on Blencathra, which sadly involved a gentleman called male, a well known individual known and loved by members of our critical care team.

“Sadly, Malc’s injuries following the incident were too severe, and he passed away despite our experienced team’s best efforts.”

Keswick mountain rescuers had also responded, along with a coastguard helicopter crew which airlifted members to an area near the scene.