Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Unspeakable In Pursuit Of 740 Partridge


By Rebecca English, Royal Correspondent,
Daily Mail (UK)
Last updated at 9:22 AM on 17th January 2012

They bagged themselves several brace of pheasant at Sandringham over Christmas.

    But at the weekend Prince William and Prince Harry set their sights on bigger game.

    The brothers flew to Spain on Friday for a secret hunting trip to celebrate the end of Harry's advanced helicopter training.

    The royal pair were staying on an estate in the backwaters of rural Cordoba owned by the Duke of Westminster, Gerald Grosvenor, Britain's third-richest man and one of William's godfathers.

Finca La Garganta

Finca La Garganta, near the village of Conquista, on the border of Castilla La Mancha, is one of the largest and most exclusive hunting estates in western Europe.

   It is teeming with wildlife including wild boar and stag which William and Harry, both crack shots, are said to be keen to bag.

Wild Boar

Beaters and packs of dogs were brought in to ensure that the princes did not return home without several 'kills' to their name.

    The brothers have visited the estate before and last time were said to have bagged a staggering 740 partridge on a single day.

    The second and third in line to the throne arrived in Spain on Friday on separate flights as they are not allowed to travel together in case of an accident.

    William , 29, who was not believed to be accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cambridge, flew into Seville while Harry, 27, arrived on a private jet at Cuidad Real Central later in the afternoon.

They took up residence in a ten bedroom villa with a group of friends and their Scotland Yard bodyguards, one of three luxurious hunting lodges built at the heart of the estate at a cost of several million pounds by the reclusive Duke.

    It has marble floors, wooden beams - and its own jacuzzi and sauna.

    The estate has just one  – practically impassable – public road, its own petrol station and a fleet of armed security guards driving 4x4s to keep any undesirables at bay.

    More than 15,000 hectares in size with a 40 mile perimeter, the Finca also boasts  a private train station and accommodation for nearly 100 staff.

    It is understood that William took his then girlfriend, Kate Middleton, to the estate a couple of years ago when they took part in a wild boar and deer hunt involving hundreds of local beaters.


This Sporting Life In Spain -- 2011 -- Stag
     According to one local employee, they killed 'dozens' of animals that day.

     'They were mostly very good shots, ' said an estate employee.

     Their latest trip was organised  as an early celebration to mark Prince Harry's graduation as a fully operational Apache attack helicopter pilot.

This Sporting Life In Spain -- 2011 -- Partridge

He is due to be assigned to one of the Army Air Corps Apache squadrons at RAF Wattisham in Suffolk and could be posted back to the frontline in Afghanistan by the end of the year.

     The holiday is also something of a farewell for William who is due to be stationed in the Falkland Islands with his RAF Search and Rescue crew for six weeks from next month.

This Sporting Life In Spain -- 2011 -- Wild Boar

Locals said the princes remained on the estate all weekend and were due to fly back yesterday.

     A Clarence House spokesman said: 'We cannot discuss the movement of the princes as they are on a private weekend.'

Modern rendering of Wild Boar painting in cave at Altamira, Spain, ca. 14,000 B.C.  "After Altamira, all is decadence" (attributed to Picasso). 

The Unspeakable

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