Appleby Horse Fair – 2016

The Appleby Horse Fair is held each year in early June when around 10,000 – 15,000 English and Welsh gypsies, Scottish and Irish travellers gather to buy and sell horses, meet with friends and relations, and celebrate their culture.

These different groups share a similar lifestyle and culture, and many gypsies and travellers regard Appleby Fair as the most important date in the calendar and it remains one of the largest of their gatherings. An estimated 25-30,000 non-Gypsy people also visit the fair during the week.

The fair is held outside the town of Appleby where the Roman Road crosses Long Marton Road, not far from Gallows Hill, named after the public hangings that were once carried out there. In the mid-20th century the story developed that the fair originated with a royal charter to the borough of Appleby from King James II of England in 1685. However, recent research has shown that the 1685 charter, which was cancelled before it was enrolled, is of no relevance. Appleby’s medieval borough fair, held at Whitsuntide, ceased in 1885.

The ‘New Fair’, held in early June on Gallows Hill, which was then unenclosed land outside the borough boundary, began in 1775 for sheep and cattle drovers and horse dealers to sell their stock. By the 20th Century it had evolved into a major gypsy and traveller occasion. No one bestowed the New Fair, no-one ever owned it and no-one was ever charged to attend it. It was and remains, a true people’s fair

The fair has no organised or scheduled events. The main activities take place on Fair Hill, the main Gypsy campsite field, with some catering and trade stands and more recently on the Market Field or Jimmy Winter’s Field, which was opened up by a local farmer several years ago, and is now the main stall trading and catering area. There are half a dozen licensed campsites nearby. Most horse trading takes place at the crossroads, known to the local authority as Salt Tip Corner and on Long Marton Road, known to the gyspies and travellers as the flashing lane where horses are shown off or ‘flashed’ by trotting up and down the lane at speed.

Many of the horses are also taken down to the Sands, near Appleby town centre and beside the River Eden, where they are ridden into the river to be washed. There is no auction at the fair with arrangements for any sales made between buyer and seller for cash. When the deal is done, the seller will hand back a small part of the price to the buyer for ‘Luck Money’.

The story behind luck money is that if the horse goes wrong, or hurts the new owner, then the luck money will ensure that you cannot curse the seller and a failure to give this money can be seen as grossly insulting.

 

The horse fair has generated some controversy over the years with complaints of mess and rubbish being left in the town and on the camp sites, crime and animal cruelty.

In 2014 there were 28 arrests at the fair, the lowest for several years, for among other things, drug use, drunkenness, and obstruction which senior police confirmed was not disproportionate to other large scale public events.

As regards rubbish and clean-up costs, although the trade stands leave a few tons of waste, the market field and Fair Hill are cleaned of litter the day after the fair, at no cost to the ratepayers, and within a week there is little trace that a fair has been held.

As regards animal cruelty, the RSPCA patrols the fair scrupulously, and although in 2009 Animal Aid called for the fair to be banned the instances of cruelty are few, and they are prosecuted where they do occur. Warnings and advice are given in borderline cases, and the great majority of horses at the fair are well looked after, well treated, and in good condition.

What is clear is that the fair is continuing a proud heritage and tradition among the travelling community and one that brings in much needed income to the town and it remains a colourful and exciting experience for all who attend.

Below are a selection of pictures from the first day of this year’s fair…

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Centre of the Community

Following an announcement by the Chancellor George Osborne last year where he revealed his plans to stop the current NHS bursary for a student loan system from September 2017 a small but vocal group of student nurses, midwives and their supporters held a rally against the cuts in Middlesbrough this afternoon.

For the trainee nurses and midwives in the northeast region the cuts would leave them with up to £50,000 worth of debt while working up to 37.5 hours a week without a wage.

The NHS bursary previously covered course fees and helped with living costs for things such as childcare.

The rally in Middlesbrough was also attended by Tom Blenkinsop, the Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Anna Turley, the Labour MP for Redcar and Labour MP for Middlesbrough, Andy McDonald.

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Light support

The Last Post is played looking out over the industrial heartland of Teesside by South Bank brass band member Dave Mackin during a torch-lit procession on Eston Nab…

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds of men, woman and children, many of whom steelworkers and their families and people from the local community climbed high up to the Nab which stands overlooking Teesside on Saturday evening to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside.

The torch-lit gathering was organised by the community group ‘The Friends of Eston Nab‘ and included a brief statement read out by organiser Craig Hornby who last year along with the group, helped to secure ownership of part of the nab to preserve it for the people of Teesside to enjoy.

Joining those who attended were Labour MP’s Anna Turley and Tom Blenkinsop who through recent weeks have fought to try and keep the steelworks and coke ovens open.

SSI UK steel announced recently that steel production at the site was to be stopped with the loss of over two thousand jobs at the site with many more losses expected in the various supply industries. The closure brings an end to 170-years of steel production on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

Hundreds attend a torch-lit procession to the top of the Eston Hills that overlook Teesside on October 24, 2015 in Eston, England. The rally was organised by the group, 'The Friends of Eston Hills' a local community group who wanted to create an opportunity for people to come together to show their support for the steelworkers of Teesside. Over two thousand workers at the SSI UK steel site at Redcar lost their jobs recently following the closure of the blast furnace and coke ovens bringing to end an over 170-years of steelmaking on Teesside.

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Melting pot for the imagination

If you happened to drive through the east Cleveland town of Redcar and then continued through what’s left of the small village of Warrenby – where before they were demolished all the streets happened to be named after marsh birds – and continue on past the collection of small business premises and car garages that are staggered either side of Tod Point road there lies a small roundabout.

If you don’t know the area and reach this roundabout then you have two options. Either assume the road ends there and you’ve gone the wrong way before going all the way around it and heading back the way you came or the alternative, and far more interesting choice is to follow the small road that leads off to the right.

If you decided to take this road then very quickly you would cross a railway line that unless you watched your speed you would fairly rattle your suspension!

But once you cross over it…

You have crossed quite literally a line into a place that is truly a surreal and conflicted mix of heavy industry, natural beauty, cutting edge technological advances, history and traditional ways of life that are now either hanging by a thread. A very frayed thread or thriving against all the odds.

You will find wide open spaces that especially through the bleakness of a grey and windy day provide an exhilaration like you get when standing on the top of a high mountain with the wind in your face and yet at the same time an equally crushing sense of claustrophobia as the dark walls of industry close in around you. Both clash together like a wave smashing against a sea wall.

The area you’re now in is called South Gare – a man-made area of reclaimed land and breakwater on the southern side of the mouth of the river Tees. Constructed from January 1861 to 1884, using 5 million tonnes of solid blast blast furnace slag and 18,000 tons of cement that were cast and moved into position along the banks of the river Tees. No mean feat. These were then back filled using around 70,000 tons of material dredged from the river bed!

Coming in at a cost of £219,393 the Gare opened on 25 October 1888 and offers a safe harbour in stormy weather to ships off the coast and allowed for the dredging of the river Tees entrance.

During the construction of South Gare a rail line was also built from the Warrenby iron works to help carry the men and materials. When construction was complete the rail line was used, wind permitting, with a sail ‘bogey’ to help move visitors, servicemen, lifeboatmen and lighthouse crew members out to the lighthouse and gun installations close to the end of South Gare that guarded and protected against a multitude of possible offenders either through the actions of man or nature.

So as you drive past the steelworks along the tight road littered with pot holes many of which are more akin to the craters left after an artillery barrage rather than your average pot holes you pass by the man-made fire breathing monolith of steel representing the industrial heritage of Teesside. Operating fully, then closed down, then re-opened again by SSI Industries to breath life, as well as the occasional smell of sulphur into the region the works, especially at night, offer up an impressive sight as the blast furnace flames and smoke reach skywards and the sirens shriek in the darkness.

UPDATE: Sadly the blast furnace nows sits quietly after the closure of the furnace in 2015 and steel production was halted.

Beyond the steelworks the road turns and runs through the high banked sand dunes draped with Marram grass that sways lazily in the breeze.

You might then, if you look through the dune slacks (or dips) and if it’s low tide catch a glimpse of the wreckage of an old ship. Held fast in the unrelenting grip of Bran sands as it slowly rots away with the ebb and flow of each new tide. The name of this vessel and the story of how it came to be held here is unknown to me – so use your imagination and you could make up some really interesting tales of dramas on the high seas to entertain your kids! Some real ‘Boys own’ adventure stuff!

The observant will also see what is left of the defences. Bunkers, pill-boxes, look-out posts, former gun emplacements – all remnants of the strategic defence the area had during World War Two. Many are now overgrown or toppled having served their purpose. Nature wins.

Further along you then pass Paddy’s Hole.

Paddy’s Hole is a small harbour in the lagoon on the Teesmouth side of South Gare constructed from the same slag used in the larger construction of the Gare. It is named Paddy’s Hole because of the many Irishmen who helped build the South Gare. It forms a safe area for the small fishing boats to tie up. Although the amount of boats that actually put out to sea now is reducing with depressing regularity as the fishing industry wanes..

Although some hardy and brave souls do still do manage to make the lonely trip through the sea fret and cold early mornings and make their way out of the mouth of the River and into the grey north sea although more to check their lobster and crab pots now rather than for fish. Quotas, low fish prices, the general effects of overfishing and increasing seal populations have all reduced the worth and a decent living that could have been made with 20ft of net has gone and you now need 40ft or 60ft to catch the same. But then the prices have dropped. It’s a vicious cycle. The seals don’t seem to mind.

Many of the fishermen who owned and operated these boats are part of the South Gare Fisherman’s Association and along with their rod wielding brethren who fish from the end of the breakwater own some of the ‘Green Huts’ tucked discreetly into the dunes.

Those huts with the smell of coke and wood burning stoves drifting on the morning breeze out of the stovepipe’s. Constructed from wood gathered together over the years some are built from reclaimed wood left after homes were demolished in the Southbank area of Middlesbrough a number of years ago. Each conforming to the code of using green paint to help them blend into the landscape and yet as different and individual on the inside as their respective owners.

Each owner conforming to the old rules of no women being allowed on the site after 8pm in the evening. Despite the severity of wind, rain or storms that might sweep across this area over the years the huts remain standing. They might take a beating every once in a while but they remain. As do their owners. Holding on.

Looking beyond the huts and a kilometer and a half out to sea you will see the wind farm. The jewel in the EDF energy crown along the northeast coast. Twenty seven modern sentinels to environmental technology standing tall at 126 metres and when all are fully turning produce enough low carbon electricity to supply the annual needs of approximately 40,000 homes, or the equivalent of most of the households in Redcar and Cleveland. It will they say, offset the annual release of approximately 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Like two gangs nature faces off in a constant battle against the industrial. Facing each other across the breakwater.

Both fighting for control of the environment.

Perched at the north end of the breakwater is the Lighthouse. Built in 1884 and currently owned by PD Ports it stands 43 feet high on blocks of concrete weighing from 40 up to 300 tons. Using a paraffin wick lamp initially until around 1955 when it was replaced with a mains powered 500 Watt tungsten filament incandescent light bulb with a back-up generator, just in case.

Flashing every 12 seconds when in use it can be visible out to 17 nautical miles (20 miles) giving warning to those heading into Teesport or making their ways along the coastline. The frequent container ships turning and meeting up with the pilots whose headquarters are based on the breakwater. Those pilots who, regardless of conditions clamber aboard unfamiliar ships before guiding them safely through the meandering Tees until they are safely moored at their respective docks ready to load or deposit their cargo.

South Gare. Sitting at the end of the river Tees. Opening the way to the Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, Forties and German bight fishing areas and gateway to Holland, Denmark and Norway. With its sand-dunes and grasses in the foreground, and its varied wildlife – foxes and deer can be seen making their way cautiously through the scrubland. With the sea birds both home grown and more exotic dropping in on their travels. With the on-going conflict of the industrial versus the natural. With its visible and invisible history.

It truly becomes a melting pot for the imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

North East SurfingSunlight breaks through clouds over the steelworks

DSCF0152A tanker makes her way down the Tees and out to sea

South Gare on TeessideSteelworks at night

Huge waves crash against the lighthouse in the area known as South Gare on Teesside.Heavy seas crash over the lighthouse at the end of the breakwater

IF2_9289.NEFWarning

Surf_0076.jpgSitting on the breakwater

South Gare on TeessideLights shine through on a radio mast in the early morning fog

South Gare on TeessideA tanker heads out through early morning sea fret

DSCF0223Sunset at Paddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessideA single fishing boat heads out in the first light of morning to check the pots

South Gare on TeessidePaddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessidePaddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessideA fisherman heads out to his main boat at first light

South Gare on TeessideReturning safely to shore from their larger fishing boat after anchoring her in Paddy’s Hole after a morning at sea

South Gare on TeessideThe pots stacked up

South Gare on TeessideOld chains and ropes, many unused for a long time fasten boats safely in the harbour

South Gare on TeessidePaddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessideFish heads

South Gare on TeessideSun rise over Paddy’s Hole

South Gare on Teesside

South Gare on TeessidePaddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessideA fisherman digs for bait at low tide on Bran Sands

IF2_9268.NEFPots and hut

South Gare Fisherman's huts

Fisherman at South Gare Fisherman’s Association

South Gare on TeessideSouth Gare Fisherman’s Association

Freezing fog at South Gare, Teesside

South Gare Fisherman’s Association

South Gare on Teesside

South Gare Fisherman’s Association

South Gare Fisherman's huts

South Gare Fisherman’s Association

South Gare Fisherman's huts

A fisherman sits inside his hut at South Gare

IF1_8762Fisherman Colin Oliver

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Fisherman Graham While

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Fisherman James While

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A man cycles through snow towards the steelworks

2IF_5552Steel production

IF1_7247EDF energy off shore windfarm

IF1_7276EDF energy off shore windfarm

Freezing fog at South Gare, TeessideRunners follow the shore line in front of a wind turbine

DSCF0126Former World War Two gun emaplacement

IF2_9236.NEFPillbox

IF2_9282.NEFDefences from WW2

South Gare on Teesside

Wreck of a boat on Bran Sands

Freezing fog at South Gare, Teesside

Winter in the dunes

IF1_4113A fox crosses the road

IF1_4121A fox out and about in the bushes of South Gare

IF2_1712Seabirds of many breeds drop in to the area

IF1_4085Swan’s arrive during winter

IF1_8048Seabirds are in abundance on the dunes

IF1_8074-2Local woman Alison Wake feeds the seabirds almost daily

L1004187Winter at the gare

IF1_7999.jpgA dumped mattress

DSCF0078Some of the waste washed up onto the shoreline

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Umbrella

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