Photographer attempting to capture perfect sunset from the top of Mount Snowdon fell 500ft to his death

  • Gerry Coyle, 65, fell from the 3,500ft Welsh peak last October
  • Camera and tripod were found where he left them but he had disappeared
  • His body was not found until six months later hidden in a deep gulley
  • Rescue leader: 'It seems he had gone way off the path to get a good photo'
  • Coroner records a verdict of accidental death at Mr Coyle's inquest

By Martin Robinson

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Tragedy: Photographer Gerry Coyle, 65, who fell to his death trying to capture the perfect sunset after falling off a mountain top at dusk

Tragedy: Photographer Gerry Coyle, 65, who fell to his death trying to capture the perfect sunset at a mountain top at dusk

A talented photographer who had a passion for sunsets died after falling 500ft off a mountain top at dusk, an inquest heard.

Gerry Coyle, 65, was trying to capture sundown at the 3,500ft peak of Mount Snowdon in Wales last October.

He had set up his tripod and camera at the summit of the highest peak in England and Wales, at the end of a fortnight's photographic tour of Britain's west coast.

But his inquest heard yesterday that he walked off the recognised path and fell as he tried to take a dramatic picture.

His body was not discovered for six months in a deep gulley.

The inquest heard climbers eventually stumbled across his abandoned tripod and camera a long way from the well used tourist path.

A police helicopter was called out and officers spotted his body at the bottom of a steep ravine.

John Grisedale, chairman of Llanberis mountain rescue team, said: 'It seems he had gone way off the path to get a good photo.'

He said there was loose scree near the edge of the ravine and he may have fallen 500ft to his death.

Father-of-two Mr Coyle, from Rugby, Warwickshire, was found in April after he vanished off the mountain in October.

 

The retired IT engineer and member of Dunchurch Photographic Society had been on a two week photographic tour of the west coast of Britain.

Photographic society member Bob Mercer said: 'He went away on his own with his camera equipment photographing sunsets and scenery down the west coast.'

Trademark: Mr Coyle had a passion for photography, here is an example of his work, but an attempt to capture sundown on Snowdon led to his death, an inquest heard

Trademark: Mr Coyle had a passion for photography, here is an example of his work, but an attempt to capture sundown on Snowdon led to his death, an inquest heard

Dream trip: Mr Coyle fell from the top of Mount Snowdon, in North Wales, but was not located for another six months

Dream trip: Mr Coyle fell from the top of Mount Snowdon, in North Wales, but was not located for another six months

Gerry posted a final message on Facebook the night before scaling Mount Snowdon to capture the perfect picture.

On 24 October he wrote: 'In Llanberis at the moment. Completed 1300/1500 miles.

'Intend to get to the top of Mount Snowdon tomorrow by train or bike as do not have much time.

'Tomorrow night due in Barmouth and Mawddach Estuary.'

He reached the top of the mountain by narrow gauge steam train the next morning and was last seen at the summit cafe at 1pm.

Talented: Gerry loved nature and architecture, as this photo showed, and his inquest heard he had embarked on a two week photography holiday

Talented: Gerry also loved architecture, as this photo shows, and his inquest heard he had embarked on a two week photography holiday

Stunning: This image, called Peak Crag, won Gerry Coyle acclaim in various competitions, and is an example of how he enjoyed black and white photography as well as colourful sunsets

Stunning: This image, called Peak Crag, won Gerry Coyle acclaim in various competitions, and is an example of how he enjoyed black and white photography as well as colourful sunsets

He sent a text message to his wife Pat telling her he had arrived safely at the top of the 3560ft peak.

But when Gerry failed to return to his hotel for the night a huge search and rescue mission was put into place.

Caernarfon Coroners Court heard Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team, RAF Valley Mountain Rescue Team, members of Search and Rescue Dogs Association Wales were all involved in the hunt.

And a helicopter from Prince William's base at RAF Valley on Anglesey was also called out but failed to find him in the days following his disappearance.

North Wales coroner Nicola Jones recorded a verdict of accidental death.
 

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Rip man

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From a photographer.......RIP

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RIP pal you died doing what you loved.

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What a shame. RIP sir.

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great pics! What a shame he died doing something he loved...

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