Travellers ride through rivers as world famous Appleby Horse Fair delayed until August

TRAVELLERS make a splash as they ride their horses through rivers after the Appleby Horse Fair has been delayed until August.

Despite the world-famous fair being pushed back due to Coronavirus restrictions, families make their way to the site to honour traditions.

On any normal year, thousands of travellers and gypsies from across Britain would meet at the Appleby Horse Fair in Cumbria.

Organisers initally decided to keep the date of the fair quiet to avoid groups from gathering.

In April the Appleby Horse Fair Multi-Agency Strategic Co-coordinating met and set the delayed date as August 12.

But traveller families decided to mark the tradition by heading down to the fair site at the time it would have been on.

The annual event in Appleby-in-Westmoreland is the largest gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in Europe.

People were seen riding their horses through the river to cool down during the heatwave.

This is a familiar sight at the fairs, often youngsters are seen washing their horses in the water.

Groups enjoyed drinks around a fire pit at one campsite – enjoying the sunshine.


Children played outside and helped their parents to groom the horses.

Last year despite the fair being cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions, travellers and fair-goers turned up in their masses.

A lone traveller trekked 200 miles to Appleby last year just because he "wanted to be there".

He travelled up in a transit van from King's Lynn, Norfolk – approximately a four-hour drive – for what would have been the start of festivities.

Kenneth, who attended the event for the past 15 years, told some people he made the trip because he needed to pick up some fertiliser.

One Appleby resident, who did not want to be named, told the News & Star: "I'm not surprised we've had so many people come. Nothing will stop them coming."

Last year was the second time in its 250 history that it was cancelled

The last time the fair was cancelled in 2001 during the foot and mouth outbreak, Mr Welch said the Gypsy and Traveller community "respected the decision and stayed away".

The annual event in Appleby-in-Westmoreland is the largest gathering of Gypsies and Travellers in Europe.

Appleby has a population of around 3,000 and in previous years has played host to 10,000 travellers plus an extra 30,000 visitors for the four-day event.

It brings in 1,000 caravans and several hundred horse-drawn vehicles which are spread across three main campsites.


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