BBC attacked for surge in tourists to dangerous Lake District cave

Priest's Hole

The BBC has been blamed for a dangerous cave in the Lake District becoming a tourist hotspot which left a 50-year-old hiker dead.

Kevin Ryan, 50, travelled to Priest's Hole on Dove Crag to spend the night with eight friends in October last year.

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The climber, from Lincolnshire, fell 200ft off the cave's ledge to his death.

The cave featured in BBC documentary series Secret Britain last March when present Chris Hollins made the dangerous climb to it.

At the time of Mr Ryan's death, mountain rescuers attacked the BBC for the surge in tourists attempting to reach the cave.

Mike Blakey, the leader of the Patterdale Mountain Rescue Team, told the Daily Telegraph that a growing numbers of people tried to visit the cave after the documentary aired.

"A man sustained very serious injuries whilst attempting to access the location one evening and prior to this we were also called to assist a father and son," he said.

He added that "as a team we are seeing more and more people who are attempting to locate the Priest's Hole in the dark and without the right equipment."

Yesterday, an inquest into Mr Ryan's death heard that he either tripped or slipped off the terrace at the cave mouth after watching the campfire at the entrance while his friends had bedded down, the Grimsby Telegraph reports.

One theory is that he went to urinate and lost his balance, but there are no witnesses.

His friends searched for him when he did not return but only found his hat and head torch.

Mr Ryan was found by Patterdale Mountain Rescue team. He suffered multiple fatal injuries, including a fractured skull.

A BBC source previously said that the programme stated how the climb was dangerous.
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