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Thread: Three Castles ; White,Grosmont and Skenfrith

  1. #1
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    Three Castles ; White,Grosmont and Skenfrith

    This is my first ride in 2017 and I was inspired for the route by interest and intrigue after reading about the Rudolf Hess story. I am a regular to the Brecons, but had no knowledge that Rudolf Hess was imprisoned here, just outside Abergavenny :
    The time is May 1941 and the Nazi's have achieved Lebensraum ["living space"] and now in control of the entire continent of Europe, except Britain and Hess flies solo in his Messerschmitt 110 from Augsburg to an arranged meeting in western Scotland , which is no mean feat in those days and beyond many an aviator and almost beyond the range of that airplane;He ran out of fuel, and parachuted to within 12 miles of his intended landing site, breaking his leg in the process. crash info here I won't expand on that here,or the controversy of his visit, but he is banged up good and proper and ends up here:

    in 1941 for three years, prior to his sentencing at the Nuremberg Trials, and thereafter at Spandau. The entire Hess story is packed full of controversy,starting with the horrors of his involvement in the Nazi party as deputy Fuhrer, with intrigue and accusations and clouded in extreme secrecy and full documents will not be released until; 2045 (100yr rule), but some of his papers are scheduled for release this year; 2017. I use the expression 'banged up' because he was in solitary and for his last 20 years of Spandau captivity, he was the ONLY prisoner , allowed one family visitor, once every two months for 15 minutes . Someone didn't want him talking, but equally some say he didn't want to talk... who knows...
    After his death, Spandau was carefully demolished and debris dumped in the sea, to prevent it becoming a shrine, but a solitary brick turned up at The BBC Antiques Roadshow. Back to the ride:
    It appears that Hess was treated well at Maindiff Court (Unlike time in Spandau) and was allowed out to race his greyhound,during which time he was well known in the area and nicknamed 'The Kaiser of Abergavenny'. He also was escorted to paint the nearby, 12th Century White Castle

    Note our satnav directed us up an offroad, unpaved section up to the castle, which was too much for my companion on his FJR; quite rightly so, it was raining heavily with copious mud.We found a more suitable road route.
    White Castle is awesome and in fabulous condition:

    Complete with intact and flooded moat:

    The rain was incessant and we fumbled our way along twisty, flooded, muddy B roads to the next of out three Hubert de Burgh castles and this one is Grosmont Castle

    Weather was very wet and pleased to report that my new jacket proved 100% waterproof for the entire day:


    We were about to depart and a local came over, started chatting and welcomed us to his local pub for a fabulous and highly recommended Sunday Roast at The Angel Inn:

    Onward to the final of the three castles:Skenfrith


    All photos taken in rain using iPhone 5s and planned route duly completed in bad riding conditions with care and without incident:

    We two riders parted company, I left the motorway, rounded a corner and was first to arrive on this scene:

    "Are you OK and does anyone need an ambulance?". I shouted across the ditch
    "No, we're OK and my dad's on his way! I only fitted new tyres yesterday !!!"
    Clearly they were testing the new tyres and that day's ride, last weekend could easily have ended sadly.
    I took the above photo (well you never know...) and departed leaving them to face their dad!
    Other vehicles passed in the rain, rubber-necked and carried on............
    Too shiny and clean to use it properly.

  2. #2
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    Good write up Paul, thanks for sharing.

    I've ridden the Skenfrith road many times, but i never knew there was a castle to visit...cool.
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  3. #3
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    Ridden past Skenrith a couple of times but via the B4521, will have a butchers next tim I'm passing.

    Didn't realise Herr Hess was held in Wales during the war.

    Nice one

  4. #4
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    Thanks for that Paul, I did those three castle a few years ago for the same historical reasons.
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