Castles from the Air: Glorious Goodrich

With a different hat on, I fly light aircraft, but even when committing aviation I’ll take any opportunity I can to fly over a castle. An aerial view gives a completely different perspective, and from the sky you can truly appreciate the impact these medieval masterpieces would have had on the people living anywhere near them. It’s a wonderful way to enjoy them, and you get to beat up some clouds too!

Me on Azlan.JPG

Aslan, my trusty steed!

I thought it would be fun to fly over a castle and then follow it up with a ground visit at the weekend ꟷ which is exactly what I’ll be doing for the final leg of my Big Castle Wander this summer ꟷ and today just such an opportunity arose. So with decent weather forecast I headed to Enstone airfield and my trusty steed, G-AZLN, otherwise known as Aslan.

Goodrich Castle is one of my very favourites. It’s special, and from the air it’s not hard to see why. For a start, it occupies a commanding position high up over a strategic crossing point in the River Wye.  It’s not huge, but it packs a punch nevertheless. Constructed mostly from deep red sandstone, its glowing russet hues within the splendour of the Wye Valley make a view that’s hard to beat. It dominates everything around, as it has done in one form or another since 11th Century, along with its string of notable owners.

Goodrich in context.jpg

Found it! Goodrich nestling in the landscape commanding a view of the River Wye

It’s a challenge to photograph a castle from the air, but I enjoy having a go. Unlike many people, I don’t mind bits of wing or nose cowling creeping into some of my aerial shots as I think it adds to the picture’s story. So my erstwhile flying partner, Gareth, took the controls while I took up my camera, and I’m pretty happy with the results. Mind you, when your subject is as striking as Goodrich, it would be more of a challenge to get it wrong!

Goodrich by river.jpg

Looking across the inner ward to the gatehouse the barbican beyond


Goodrich 1

The keep is the oldest part of the castle, and it stands between two imposing towers on the right

From a couple of thousand feet up, you can admire Goodrich’s beauty and appreciate its one-time power, but for a real sense of the castle itself and the prominent people who owned it, you need to get back on terra firma. So, as we turned to fly back to the airfield, I bid a fond farewell to Goodrich and felt glad that our parting will only be for a matter of days.

Me at controls

Happy now – I’ve seen my castle and I’m flying!

Cloud dancing.jpg

Clouds over Oxfordshire

On the way home we enjoyed a bit of cloud busting as we danced around some less earthly castles in the air. And when I’m doing that, I can’t help thinking of one of my favourite poems:

High Flight

by John Gillespie Magee

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, ꟷ and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of ꟷ Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew ꟷ
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Sky and clouds.jpg

57 thoughts on “Castles from the Air: Glorious Goodrich

  1. Well what can I say – I love this post! Great photo’s Alli and I’m really looking forward to visiting on the ground. So when’s the new edition of ‘Castles from the Air’ coming out – put me down for a signed copy 😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wait, you FLY?! 😮 That’s… Soooo Cooool. Lovely post. May I suggest you take a look at Golubac fortress? It is freshly reconstructed fortress in Serbia. The grand opening was a few weeks ago and I am sure you can find drone footage on YouTube.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, I don’t think I have ever known someone that flies – I am truly impressed! I love the photos as well – you really can see such a different perspective of the castles and the grounds from so high up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Robyn. Yes it is a nice way to observe history in the landscape. You can see what a dominating feature they would have been – and still are in many ways. Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • Oh bless you, thanks Malcolm. That’s very kind. Flying is a great way to see how history shaped the land. And it’s fun! Thanks for reading. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I wish I did own Aslan, but yes, they’re really expensive. He’s just the one I fly, and I have a particular affection for. Ages ago when I first started flying it cost £5000 a year just to keep an aeroplane on the ground, so I dread to think what it costs now. Better to hire it by the hour and not worry about the upkeep! Thanks for reading, Carol. What did you fly?


      • I started on Cessna 150s (G-AFPX which I believe is still around somewhere), then Cessna 172s (the 4 seater) – I preferred the larger aircraft. I used to take passengers up when I was flying with an instructor to help pay for the flight – there were usually many volunteers to come on a flight!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, that’s a good idea to help pay for the lessons. Good thinking! I didn’t get on with Cessnas because I prefer low winged aircraft, so I trained on a Slingsby Firefly T67 – a military trainer, gorgeous aircraft, and now I fly PA28s – funnily enough G-AZLN, or Aslan, is a type called an Archer – appropriate for a longbowman. I know 150s and 172s are great training aircraft though, and very well behaved in a stall, unlike the Slingsby, which always dropped a wing quite sharply. Great to know another lady pilot. 🙂


    • Thanks Marilyn, yes it is fun to fly over them, and then look forward to a ground visit. Glad to hear you’ve had the pleasure of riding in small planes too. It’s a very different from the big ones, which I have to admit I can’t stand. Thanks for reading, and for commenting.


  4. I thought I was following your blog but WordPress didn’t think so. I hope I’ve rectified that now. How wonderful to be able to pilot a plane and fly off and see what interests you. I love your photos of the castle from the air.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Suzanne, I find WordPress can be a bit unreliable too, and I don’t always get notifications of new posts. But I’m so glad you enjoyed my flight over Goodrich, where I’m off to on a ground .visit now. Thanks for reading and for your kind comments. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thanks for lifting me up – and into some flight
    I like the various photos (nice to see the pilot in action) and the closing one with the green patches and clouds was beautiful.
    And from the poem:

    High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
    I’ve chased the shouting wind along….

    so nice

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re very welcome Yvette, and I’m glad you enjoyed the flight! The poem is every pilot’s favourite, as you can probably imagine, but it is very lovely. Thanks for reading and for your kind comments. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

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