Picture Post: One man and his dog, before the crowds flock in

A farmer on his quadbike and with his trusted sheepdog rounds up his flock and sends them down Mastiles Lane between Malham Tarn and Kilnsey in the Yorkshire Dales.

PIC: Tony Johnson
PIC: Tony Johnson

It’s the kind of scene which is repeated every day in rural North Yorkshire where the sheep tend to outnumber people. However, come next weekend these quiet fields may well look a little different as the Grand Départ rolls into town.

With momentum building towards the big event which will see the eyes of the world turn on Yorkshire much of the Dales will be turned into a temporary campsite as cycling fans descend to see the Tour de France peloton as it passes some of the most dramatic scenery on the two-day route.

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To celebrate the Grand Départ, Kilnsey will be hosting the VeloFest camping and cycling festival and with 2,000 tent, caravan and motorhome pitches it looks set to be the scene of one big party.

Open from Thursday, giant screens will be showing all the action of the race from start to finish. Next to stage one of the route, the festival is within easy cycling distance from the Kidstones Pass hill-climb.

As well as stalls dedicated to all things on two wheels once the riders have crossed the finishing line, Toploader, whose hit Dancing in the Moonlight was impossible to avoid back in 2000, will headline the entertainment stage. “We are just days away from witnessing a piece of history,” says Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire, which successful bid for the event, beating favourite Scotland.

“It’s going to be a busy weekend, but a wonderful one. I think we have already seen the number of people cycling increase across Yorkshire and were are determined that there will be a long lasting legacy.

“Of course the focus at the moment is on the weekend, but this has always been about much more than that. This is a ten- year project for the county and we need to seize the moment in the afterglow of the race to really hammer home why Yorkshire will be a European capital of cycling one day.

Technical details: Fuji Finepix x20, 1/250th @f1. ISO100.

Picture: Tony Johnson

Words: Sarah Freeman