Blazing tar barrels carried through Ottery St Mary for annual event

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Thousands of people have gathered in Ottery St Mary for the blazing tar barrels event.

Every November 5, flaming tar barrels are carried through the streets of the East Devon town, with between 8,000 to 10,000 people attending to watch the fearless men, women and children every year.

Tar barrel
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

The tradition dates back hundreds of years and while the exact origins are unknown, it's speculated that it may have started after the gunpowder plot in 1605.

Different reasons have been suggested for the burning of the barrels, including to fumigate cottages and as a warning of the approach of the Spanish armada.

Tar barrel
(Andrew Matthews/PA)

We think it looks pretty spectacular - but probably wouldn't fancy carrying one of those flaming hot barrels ourselves.