From the first Thursday in June until the following Wednesday, Appleby-in-Westmorland hosts the Appleby Horse Fair by right of a Royal Charter granted in the 17th Century.
This traditional Gypsy Fair is the largest in Europe and attracts gypsies and travellers in their thousands. The numbers swell even more when thousands of tourists and visitors arrive over the weekend to take in the sights and, maybe, buy a horse or two.
Horses are washed in the River Eden before being taken through the streets to Fair Hill where are put through their paces on the 'Flash' in the hopes of attracting buyers.
We have never been. We arrived in Cumbria after the event last year and it is looking as if we shall be hard pushed to get there this year. However, I am hopeful that we shall make it. From the photographs I have seen it certainly looks like something not to be missed, and I quite fancy having my fortune read.
The event sounds very exciting but local opinion is mixed. Some embrace the event, others stock up and lock up, not their daughters, but things like Quad Bikes. The local roads are a nightmare. Horse drawn, bow top caravans may be very romantic but they are also very slow and often travel a in motorised convoy matching the horses pace.
We have seen little of it all in our village. However, police cars are patrolling and we see several a day go 'round the loop'. The villagers tell us that we are unlikely to have any 'stopovers' - we don't have a village pub for one thing.
Here's hoping that the sun shines and the event is a happy and uneventful one - and we get to see the horses in the river!
Link: Appleby Horse Fair