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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Safety fears force river closure at Appleby Horse Fair

Heavy rain and high river levels have hit one of the most eye-catching spectacles of Appleby Horse Fair.

Washing horses in the River Eden is one of the main traditions and most recognisable sights of the annual event.

But the waterway has been closed off because of concerns over safety amid the high river level following heavy showers today.

A road closure has also been put in place at the Market Field to prevent vehicles from going on to the area due to the extremely muddy conditions

Those decisions have been taken by the alliance of agencies and travellers who oversee the running of the fair.

A spokeswoman said the river was fast flowing with the current strong at its far end, creating a high risk of horses and their riders getting into difficulty. The water was also murky.

She added: The safety of the river will be reviewed on a regular basis and it is expected that it will reopen in the morning, however this decision will be based on the weather conditions overnight."

The river peaked at 1am at a level of 1.23 metres.

Safety experts say anything over one metre poses danger.

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