When news happens, text KENEWS and your photos and videos to 80360. Or contact us by email or phone.
Veteran traveller's anger on the road to Appleby
A VETERAN traveller to Appleby Horse Fair has claimed he is being treated as a ‘second class citizen’ after being banned from setting up his traditional roadside camp outside Kirkby Lonsdale.
Buck Lowther says he has stopped off at the same place on the A65 for the past six decades – but restrictions imposed over the past two years have left him struggling to find an alternative camp.
This year, the 66-year-old and his extended family set up for more than a week on a wide grass verge opposite New House Caravan Park, but he says police told him it was an illegal site and they would not be allowed to camp there again.
“It’s just like what they did to the American Indians – they’ll end up putting us in reservations,” said Mr Lowther.
He and his family are among the thousands of people currently making their way to Appleby for the ancient fair – the largest in Europe. This year, it is being held from June 7-13.
“I’ve travelled to Appleby for the last 60 years,” said Mr Lowther. “My father was a horse dealer and we’d always stop on the roadside just outside Kirkby Lonsdale. But they fenced off the verge where we usually stay, so we had to find somewhere else.
“The police wanted to move us on straight away but I said: ‘Where can we go?’ They said we could stay this time but we would not be allowed in the future.
“It’s an attack on my traditional way of life. I feel like I’m being treated as a second class citizen.”
Local councils and Cumbria Police say they have striven to improve the situation for travellers heading for Appleby and last year’s generally trouble-free event was hailed a success by all involved, including many Appleby residents.
The authorised transit site at Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale, which opened on Monday, is officially for 20 caravans; but more than that number were parked there yesterday.
A spokeswoman for South Lakeland District Council said: “The council works closely with the police and other interested parties in ensuring disruption is kept to a minimum during the Appleby Fair. Extra areas for parking are allocated to prevent any inconvenience to local residents. If anyone has any issues regarding Appleby Fair then we urge them to contact us so we can discuss them.”
Police are continuing to get ready for Appleby Fair with new maps being created to highlight route information and improvements being made to stopping place sites.
The map can be found at the following link: www.cumbria.police.uk/applebyfairmap