Appleby Horse Fair

In heading ‘up North’ last month we had no idea about Appleby Horse Fair. On the way up we stopped for a leg stretch at Kirkby Lonsdale and there we encountered gypsy style caravans for the first time.

image002I talked to some of these people and discovered they were heading for Appleby but we still had no idea of just how big the event actually was.

I dare say that to locals it is all a bit of a pain, with roads clogged with slow moving horse drawn vehicles and a little suspicion that always tends to exist between different peoples.

For us, as tourists, it was an added bonus. Many of the ‘caravans’ were delightful and we got used to driving along roads where the verges were lined with these vehicles and also with their motive power, the horses, tethered out. It was all good fun, and if we had to follow a slow vehicle (which virtually never actually happened) then we were in no hurry.

The road between Kirkby Stephen and Brough was particularly full of the travelling people. Their caravan homes had always been called benders by me but locally they were bowtops. And they really did make an attractive sight.

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As I drove along the road my wife took pictures from the car. It is never easy to get just what you want but here’s an impression – and of course it isn’t all those beautiful bowtops.

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There’s one with wonderfully over the top decoration.

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Our other equally difficult to photograph encounter was passing Appleby on the train to Carlisle. A vast tract of countryside was covered in caravans of all types.

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Amazing!

 

 

 

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