GLAMOROUS travellers have been strutting their stuff as they take their horses for a dip on the second day of the Appleby Horse Fair.
Traditionally, people from the gypsy, Roma and traveller communities have taken the plunge in the River Eden in Cumbria as part of the annual fair which dates back some 250 years.
One blonde woman appeared to be having fun as she boldly rode into the river in the town of Appleby.
Many others could be seen doing the same thing and giving their horses as much needed cooling off as a mini heatwave kicks off across the country.
One man threw buckets of water over his horse as the animal pranced about in the river.
Crowds gathered yesterday along the River Eden and St Lawrence’s Bridge to watch the spectacle of horses being led into the river and being given a dunking up to their necks and usually given a good shampoo rub as potential buyers looked on.
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Around 40,000 people are expected to attend the horse fair with thousands coming from all over Europe for the event which started off in the 1770s on Gallows Hill where sheep, cattle and horse dealers went to sell their stock.
By the 1900s it had evolved into an event for gypsies and travellers.
It is considered to be the biggest gypsy horse fair in Europe.
This year’s Appleby Horse Fair was delayed by a week by the organisers to avoid clashing with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.
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It was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid-19 and postponed last year until August as the pandemic continued.
More than 10,000 travellers are thought to have set up camp in the small town as the popular event got underway on Thursday.
The RSPCA advised visitors not to sell or buy puppies at the event this weekend after an "alarming number" were traded at last year's gathering.
Queues of traffic backed up on the A66 and surrounding country roads as people made their way to the event with the police putting a number of no stopping restrictions in place and blocking off residential side streets.
While a school and some businesses, including pubs, have shut up shop for the duration of the fair the town is, largely, open for business with cafes and fish and chip shops said to be doing a brisk trade.
Les Clark, Chair of the Appleby Horse Fair Multi-Agency Strategic Coordinating Group (MASCG) previously said: “All the agencies involved in responding to the fair were keen to reach a compromise that enabled both the settled communities of Appleby and the surrounding areas and the Gypsy and Traveller communities to arrange and enjoy both celebrations.
“We're grateful to the Gypsy and Traveller representatives in the Multi-Agency Strategic Coordinating Group for being flexible on moving the date of next year's fair to accommodate the celebrations of the Queen's Jubilee.
“As part of this mutually agreed compromise, a delegation of representatives from the Gypsy and Traveller Community will gather in the Fair field on Wednesday 8 June, to reinforce the traditional dates of the Fair.
“The MASCG will also engage with those communities that normally accommodate people travelling to the fair in the days before to ensure that the impact on their Jubilee celebrations is minimalised as well as reinforcing a strong, 'Do not come early' message to those wishing to attend the Fair.”
Cumbria Police have already made a number of arrests, and have deployed up to 200 officers to the area.
Chief Superintendent Matt Kennerley said: "We always have a few hundred officers on duty each day, big numbers of officers in and around the Appleby area but we don't leave the surrounding areas with none we still push toward Kirby Stephens where we still have some encampments.
"There has been a number of arrests for all sorts of different issues as you would expect when there are higher volumes of people in the area.
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"We have everything from drink and drug driving to minor crimes but nothing of note.
"It's not a representation of any community, it is locals as well as visitors to the area."
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