Appleby Horse Fair was back in 2021 - and it is was as interesting an experience as ever.
True to their form over the last 18 months, the media have managed to focus only on the negative. The two incidents focussed on were the beating of a local man, and a brawl.
Such incidents are regrettable and it would be better if they hadn't happened. But how many fights happened elsewhere around the country over the same timeframe?
The same applies to the litter left behind. To me, this is the only truly negative thing about the event: huge amounts of litter casually abandoned both in and around Appleby, and many of the campsites visited on the way to the fair. I have pretty strong views about littering and I also feel that a person's attitudes towards littering probably reflect their attitudes about many other things: do you care about your environment and other people? No? Then go ahead and chuck away your junk food wrappers.
However. Having said that, I think people need to get a little perspective and admit that littering (as fighting) is hardly a phenomenon exclusive to the Traveller community. Seen the devastation left after a nice middle class music festival? In Leicester Square after the football fans have left? Or maybe the respectable looking family of four in a BMW I witnessed who all opened their doors, dumped their fast food detritus, and drove off.
The fact is of course that no single segment of society has a monopoly on stupidity and ignorance: all segments have their fair share, no matter how elevated they might believe they are.
To me, Appleby Horse Fair is a unique and historic tradition that is always a joy to visit, with a very good atmosphere. People come to meet old and new friends, have a good time, and appreciate their horses. I am very glad it was back on again - with the only masks in sight being on the many, many police officers hovering over everything..