AN inquest has heard how a Cambridge University PhD student tragically died during a fell running game of “tag” on a Lake District peak.

John Grenfell-Shaw was one of around two dozen friends who travelled to Cumbria last summer for a series of unofficial running games, including one dubbed “hare and hounds”.

Participants assumed the roles of either hares or hounds – the latter chasing the former over varying terrain in a bid to “tag” them. During pursuits, hares would carry a horn to sound and draw attention to themselves but try to evade capture.

An inquest in Cockermouth heard how 25-year-old mathematician Mr Grenfell-Shaw – a fit and “extremely capable runner, scrambler and climber” – was making his sixth visit with the group.

In sunny weather on the morning of July 5, he was a “hare” followed by a “hound” to Haystacks, Buttermere. He chose to run down a gully on the north side of the fell. A friend’s statement read to the inquest revealed it was an area runners were told was dangerous and should be avoided.

Mr Grenfell-Shaw was instructed he would not be followed. Last seen at 11.30am, he was reported missing when he failed to rejoin the group, sparking a search involving mountain rescuers and his friends.

His body was located that evening in a gully near Haystacks’ 1,959ft summit. He had a “traumatic” head injury.

Senior Cumbria coroner Kally Cheema said Mr Grenfell-Shaw, from Bristol, died “as a result of an accident”, the suggestion being he had fallen a considerable distance.

At the inquest, his father, Mark, spoke of his son “living life to the full”, describing him as “deeply analytical” and “always deeply calculated” in his approach to risk.

Friend Pollie Boyle insisted Mr Grenfell-Shaw was “not an undue risk taker”, adding: “He was a talented person yet very modest, and would always have gone out of his way to help.

“He will be sorely missed.”