This last visit however was my lucky time to go up there . The Appleby fair was on during the last few days of my time away . Anyone who has watched the Channel 4 show My big fat Gypsy Wedding will be familiar with the Fair as it has featured on the show.
For those of you who have not heard about this fair . It has been held in this lovely part of England for hundreds of years . It is an event held yearly and is attended by Romany and Irish families travelling to meet up with old friends, celebrate their music, history and folklore and conduct business - particularly buying and selling horses. It is also visited by many visitors each year wanting to witness this unique event.
Traditionally the Gypsies and Travellers set up and stay on Fair Hill where they trade horses. They run them on the surrounding public roads so they can display their skills to prospective buyers. The younger members of the family wash the horses in the River Eden to get them ready to show to prospective buyers. In the evenings Fair Hill is alight with campfires. Sadly on my first visit , the river was far to high to safely take horses into the river for their wash and scrub . So it was down to the young members of the community to hang over the side of the river and collect buckets of water to shampoo the horses . They really do like to make these horses look at their best . I saw all sorts of posh shampoos and could smell Strawberry and other fruity shampoos being used .
I watched many of the horses being run along the streets and i was surprised at how fast they go along the roads , with people milling around at the same time . It really is a case of look over your shoulder , as they will not stop or even be able to stop if you step out in front of the horse . You can hear calls from the drivers of the carts that they use , shouting to mind your backs !!! But you need to watch your feet as well . As one poor soul found out when a horse and cart went over his foot !!! ouch !!
The weather was really great for this day out . The week prior had been awful weather , rain and storms . But the sun was shining down on Appleby on this day . And as i was driving home at the end of my visit , it was apparent that it did shine just on Appleby . The surrounding area and all my journey back to Cumbria was dull and cloudy !!
While eating my lunch , i was watching a group of Gypsies doing a deal on a lovely horse . It is obviously a real tradition in the way they do these deals , as i couldn't make head nor tail of what was going on . But there was lots of hand slapping and money being passed from one man to another . I was really impressed that they have kept this tradition up for so many years .
Walking up to Fair Hill was interesting as there were some of the younger travellers in their new cars . Bentley Continental convertible and Porsche convertibles !!! I might think about doing a course on tarmac laying and block paving as it seems to pay well .
Their caravans are amazing. All spotlessly clean and the ones with chrome parts were glistening in the sunshine .
There were fires lit nearby most of the caravans . Again this seems to be part of their tradition that they have a fire near by their homes .
I have heard from people that Travellers and Gypsies are nasty ignorant people . All i can say is that the ones i spoke to and bumped into were really polite and friendly . They seem to get a bad press . Which happens in all walks of life !!
To find out more about the Gypsy and Traveller tradition visit www.grthm.co.uk.
Here are some links you might find interesting .
Horses tethered up for prospective buyers to view .
Fowl sticking close to mum . Was also still suckling from her as well .
Many thanks for popping by and hope you enjoyed the blog and photos that go with it . View more of my images on my website http://www.eternityimages.co.uk/Home.aspx
All the best , Mark .