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Stage One, Tour de France 2014: Leeds to Harrogate

The route of Stage One of the 2014 Tour de France is from Leeds to Harrogate, via the Yorkshire Dales

Tour de France 2014 Stage 1 map

It's 190.5km, or 119mi, from the beginning of the race at Harewood. The start in Leeds is a départ fictif, or ceremonial start, and the peloton will stay together, behind a race organisers' vehicle, until Harewood; the ride from Leeds to Harewood doesn't count in the official race distance. At Harewood, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will meet the competitors at a line-up on the steps of the country house, before the racing starts.

See the above Stage 1 map in pdf format, or the interactive Tour de France map of Stage One.

Around 880,000 spectators are expected to watch Stage One. The finish is at the Harrogate Hotel du Vin on West Park, between the junctions with Albert St and Raglan St. In the week before the race, there are lots of Tour decorations in Harrogate.

(See our stage 1 report for the race as it happened on 5th July 2014).

Stage One, Tour de France 2014: video of the route

Our video of the route of Stage One of the 2014 Tour de France shows you the itinerary in about 6 minutes. We give the distance so far at each town, village, or landmark along the way. You can see the route, where the hills are, and enjoy the stunning countryside of the Yorkshire Dales. There's film of cyclists on the Tour de France route, as well the main towns, attractions, and wildlife. 

Stage One, Tour de France 2014: the route

Thierry Gouvenou, the Tour's Sports Director, who was responsible for choosing the route, said of Stage 1, 'From Skipton onwards, the racers will be cycling along undulating routes, in particular the wonderful Yorkshire Dales National Park, which the whole world will be able to see on television. This first stage will be promising for sprinters, who will have to fight for the maillot jaune of le Tour in Harrogate, since the last 60 kilometres are flat.'

Mark Cavendish will be one of the favourites to win the sprint up Parliament Street and to the finish line on West Park in Harrogate. In an interview in January 2014, Cavendish said that his whole year would be built around Harrogate. If Stage One does end in a sprint, the main competition is likely to come from Marcel Kittel, Andre Greipel, and Peter Sagan.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: the départ fictif - Leeds to Harewood (ceremonial start)

Leeds Town Hall    View of Leeds from A61

Stage one begins on the Headrow (one of the official spectator hubs), outside the Town Hall and Art Gallery in Leeds, and picks up the A61, which is urban dual carriageway at first, with plenty of roundabouts. The A61 crosses the Leeds Ring Road between Moortown and Moor Allerton, then emerges into the countryside by Alwoodley Gates school, heading for Harewood House

Every Tour de France stage has a ceremonial start, where the riders remain behind a Tour vehicle, and there is no racing, so the speed is slower. (In French, the ceremonial start is referred to as a départ fictif, and the racing starts at the départ réel). The ceremonial start of this stage will last until Harewood, with the riders going through the grounds of Harewood House, and pausing at the Festival of Cycling there, to be greeted by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. After that, the race will be on.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Harewood House to Otley (0-8.5km; 0-5 mi)

Harewood House, near Leeds   View of the Chevin from Otley

After Harewood House, the Tour de France riders will turn left onto the A659, for a flat ride along the river Wharfe, via Pool to Otley (another spectator hub).

There's a sharp right/left dogleg in the centre of Otley (Manor Square, by the Black Horse Hotel), that anyone who has crawled through the town by car will remember. The route then continues on the A659 Beech Hill, which becomes Westgate. (Otley is the home town of Lizzie Armitstead, silver medallist in the women's road race at the 2012 London Olympics. She is patron of Otley's thriving cycle club).

York City Council has produced a 'flyover' video of the route as far as Otley (showing the roads from the air, using Google Earth). (The route shown in the video is slightly wrong where it exits Otley, as a small change made after the route was originally announced has not been accounted for):

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Otley to Ilkley (8.5-17km; 5-11mi)

View of Ilkley from Ilkley Moor  Ilkley centre

As it exits Otley to the west, the Tour de France route takes a right fork off the A659 Westgate at the Fleece, onto Ilkley Road, which runs close to the Wharfe. After a short distance, it turns right onto the wide, flat A660 Ilkley Road, which then becomes the A65 Burley Bypass past Burley-in-Wharfedale. The A65 contines to follow the Wharfe to Ilkley.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Ilkley to Skipton (17-35km;11-22mi)

Skipton Castle  Canal boats in Skipton

There's a gradual climb out of Ilkley. In a change to the route originally announced, the Tour will go through, not just past, Addingham. It'll take a right turn off the A65, onto Main St, Addingham, then fork right onto Skipton Rd, Addingham, to rejoin the A65 1km before Chelker Reservoir. The climb from Ilkely to the resevoir is from 70m altitude up to 221m, over about 8km. 

The next town on the route is Skipton (at 118m). In a slight change to the originally published itinerary, the Tour de France route takes a left on the A6069 just before Skipton, arriving in town on Otley Rd/Newmarket St, then turning right up the High St, left over Mill Bridge, and out of town on the B6265. The TV cameras are sure to show shots of the impressive Skipton Castle.

This is York City Council's 'flyover' video from Otley to Skipton, and just beyond into the Yorkshire Dales, as far as Cracoe:

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Skipton to Kettlewell (35-59km; 22-37mi)

Kilnsey Crag   Bridge at Kettlewell

Climbing out of Skipton, the B6265 soon crosses the boundary into the Yorkshire Dales National Park. It goes through Rylstone and Cracoe, then rejoins the Wharfe at Threshfield, with views of Grass Wood shortly afterwards. The riders will pass through Kilnsey - past the trout fishing lake, and the Tennant Arms pub, and under Kilnsey Crag. Another few kilometres, and they'll arrive in picturesque Kettlewell.

This flyover video shows the route from Cracoe, just past Kettlewell, to Cray:

There's also a route information video with Jamie Sharp, covering the B6160 from Kilnsey to Kettlewell. Some of the safety advice is a bit banal, reminiscent of the old public safety announcements on TV - for example, we're told that there may be oncoming traffic, and pedestrians in a village. Maybe that's useful for some people. However, it's interesting to see the route being cycled:

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Kettlewell to Aysgarth (59-83km; 37-52mi)

Buck Inn, Buckden   Aysgarth Falls

The road from Kettlewell via Starbotton to Buckden (see the Buckden-Tour de France website) is just wide enough for two cars to squeeze past each other. It's shown on this route/safety information video, which also mentions buildings jutting out into the road:

At Buckden, the route leaves the Wharfe, and climbs via Cray up a route known as Kidstones Pass to Bishopdale Head. This is the first categorised climb on Stage 1 (Cat. 4), and on the race itinerary it is called Côte de Cray. It is recommended as one of the best places to watch Stage One of the Tour de France 2014 - it's scenic, and the riders will be going more slowly, as it's steeply uphill. Because of road closures, though, you'll probably need to get there the night before at the lastest. This video shows the Côte de Cray:

Then, there's a descent - steep at first - into Bishopdale, alongside Bishopdale Beck. It's shown on this video:

In Bishopdale, the riders take the B6160 to Newbiggin, the location of the day's intermediate sprint. (For the 2014 edition of the Tour, there is one intermediate sprint per normal road stage, with points awarded in the Green Jersey competition, plus more points for the finish of each stage. There will be no time bonuses awarded for the sprints, so real time will be the basis of the General Classification. See this overview of the Green Jersey points system). 

The route continues past Thoralby and West Burton, then it turns left on the A684 to Aysgarth, famous for its waterfalls. (This is a slight change from the original route map, which showed them turning left a few kilometres earlier, through Thoralby).

The section in Bishopdale, towards Aysgarth, is shown on this video with Jamie Sharp:

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Aysgarth to Hawes (83-98km; 52-61mi)

Bainbridge   Hawes

This stretch takes the A684 up Wensleydale, by the river Ure, through Bainbridge, to Hawes. The route is very slightly uphill here, and follows the course of the river Ure.

This flyover video shows the section from Cray via Kidstones Pass to Aysgarth, Bainbridge, and Hawes:

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Hawes via Butter Tubs to Reeth (98-125km; 61-78mi)

Butter Tubs   Swaledale

Now comes probably the most dramatic part of the stage, the Category 3 climb, Côte de Buttertubs. The route crosses the Ure, and climbs through Simonstone towards the high point of the day, 526m, near Butter Tubs. (If you're riding the route, look out for the cattle grids here, and sheep wandering unpredictably across the road). This video shows the Côte de Buttertubs climb:

The riders will then descend into Swaledale, passing through the picturesque villages of Muker, Gunnerside, Feetham, and Healaugh, before coming into Reeth.

Farmers Arms, Muker   Reeth

This flyover video shows the route over Buttertubs, then down to Muker, and through Gunnerside and Reeth to Grinton:

A route information/safety video shows the roads in and around Muker, warning of concealed entrances, dry stone walls, narrow sections, and a bridge with limited visibility:

This is a video of the next section after Muker, to Gunnerside:

And the approach on the B6270 to Reeth:

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Reeth to Leyburn (125-137.5km; 86-mi)

Rifle range road on Stainton Moor   Bolton Arms, Leyburn

Leaving Reeth, the race passes through Grinton, then climbs by the rifle range road onto the moor - Cogden Moor, Grinton Moor, and Ellerton Moor. It's Category 3 climb, called Côte de Grinton Moor on the race itinerary. The summit of the climb is about 420m, near Robin Cross Hill. You can see the Côte de Grinton Moor on this video:

After the top of the climb, the riders pass by Stainton Moor, Bellerby Moor (where Bellerby Ranges are to be found), and Leyburn Moor. They then go through the market town of Leyburn.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Leyburn to Masham (137.5-155.5km; 86-97mi)

Middleham Castle   Black Sheep brewery, Masham

The riders now follow the A6108 over Middleham bridge, with its turrets, and through Middleham, known for its ruined castle (where Richard III stayed, before he became king), and as the home of many horse racing trainers. They go to the village of East Witton, then past the ruins of Jervaulx Abbey, before arriving in the brewing town of Masham

East Witton church   Jervaulx Abbey

This flyover video shows the Tour route from Grinton via Leyburn to Masham:

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Masham to Ripon (155.5-169.5km; 97-106mi)

River Ure at West Tanfield   North Stainley

Expect this later part of the stage to be fast, as it continues to follow a fairly flat A6108, especially if there's a NW wind at the riders' backs. They cross the Ure at West Tanfield, and probably won't notice how charming North Stainley is as the fly through. The race route avoids the centre of Ripon, and stays on the main road to the east of the city, taking in five roundabouts.

Ripon Cathedral   Tour de France, Ripon

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Ripon to Harrogate (169.5-190.5km 106-119mi)

Royal Baths, Harrogate   Bettys Harrogate

After skirting Ripon, the final section of Stage One of the 2014 Tour de France is due south on the A61. It passes Ripley (where up to 12,000 people may be watching - see our Tour de France in Ripley page), goes over the river Nidd, then into Killinghall (the final village before Harrogate). 

After the race enters Harrogate at the New Park (also known as Little Wonder) roundabout, there's a short, sharp climb, then a short downhill stretch to the junction by the Royal Baths and the Royal Hall. As the riders stream down, they'll be able to see Parliament Street, which takes them steeply up to Bettys and the war memorial, then straight ahead on West Park, with now only a very slight uphill gradient. The finish line is on West Park, in front of the Hotel du Vin, in between the junctions with Albert St and Raglan St.

View of Parliament St, Harrogate, from Ripon Rd   Hotel du Vin, Harrogate

This flyover video shows the final section of the Stage 1 route from Masham to Harrogate:

Stage One, Tour de France 2014: where to watch the race

Where to watch Stage 1, TDF 2014: the start in Leeds

Leeds Art Gallery and Town Hall

There is sure to be lots to see at the start, on The Headrow, outside Leeds Art Gallery. This is an official spectator hub, and there are plans to put up five grandstands in Victoria Gardens (see map below). There's to be a hospitality village on Millenium Square for Tour sponsors, and a media centre in Wellington Place.

Map of Tour Grand Depart, Headrow, Leeds

When it leaves The Headrow, the race will go relatively slowly on the A61 out of Leeds, as it is the ceremonial part of the stage, before the racing begins from Harewood. The Yorkshire Evening Post says there could be 27,000 people on the first 1.5km of the route, from the Art Gallery to Sheepscar. 

A further 2km along the route, there'll be a spectator area and big screen on Scott Hall playing fields, near the junction of Scott Hall Road and Potternewton Lane. A Leeds City Council report from 15th April 2014 estimates that there'll be 165,000 spectators from the start until the point that the race crosses the boundary to Bradford (between Otley and Burley in Wharfedale), but warns this may be an under-estimate.

Where to watch Stage 1, TDF 2014: official spectator hubs

There will be official spectator hubs at nine locations, with big screens to watch the race, and family-focussed activities. As well as The Headrow and Scott Hall playing fields in Leeds, they will be in Otley town centre, Ilkley, Skipton, Grassington, Aysgarth, Hawes, Leyburn, Ripon, and Harrogate

Harewood House is also putting on a Festival of Cycling event from Friday 4th to Sunday 6th July 2014, with camping and camper vans, exhibitons, entertainment, and big screens to watch the race. Stage One of the Tour is even due to come through the grounds of Harewood, and pause there for ten minutes, from 11.40am on Saturday 5th July - see Stage 1 timings. It has been announced that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will greet the riders on the steps of the house.

Where to watch Stage 1, TDF 2014: the climbs

Côte de Grinton Moor climb, Tour de France 2014

The riders' speed is lower on the uphill sections, and the racing is often at its most exciting. The climbs on Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 are also in spectacular locations in the Yorkshire Dales.

The race organisers' Stage 1 timetable lists the climbs, and their categories. They are Côte de Cray (out of Buxton, via Cray to Kidstones Pass) (Cat 4), Côte de Buttertubs (Butter Tubs Pass, between Hawes and Muker) (Cat 3), and Côte de Grinton Moor (the road out of Grinton onto Grinton Moor and past Bellerby rifle range) (Cat 3). 

Where to watch Stage 1, TDF 2014: the finish

Hotel du Vin, Harrogate, with yellow door

Details of the arrangements in Harrogate town centre for the finish of Stage 1 were made available at the end of January 2014. One side of West Park near the finish line will be cordoned off, and reserved for the race organisers and TV crews. The other side (near the war memorial) will be a public viewing area, with grandstands erected by Welcome to Yorkshire - at least, that was the plan at one stage, although it is no longer certain. It will be very busy. We've seen different estimates of the number of people likely to be there, one of them being 120,000.

There'll be at least two big screens - one by the Crescent Gardens, opposite the Royal Hall, and one on West Park Stray. 

Harrogate town centre Tour de France map

See the details of the arrangements in Harrogate town centre for the finish of Stage 1, and the full-size map. Read about the Tour de France decorations in Harrogate. This video shows the way the town is dressed, a few days before the Tour:

Stage One, Tour de France 2014: timings

The Tour de France organisers have published the estimated timings for Stage One of the 2014 Tour. There are three scenarios, based on different average speeds of the race. Stage One leaves Leeds at 11.10 (ceremonial start), and the racing starts at 12 noon from Harewood. The riders should arrive at the finish in Harrogate between 4.20pm and 4.46pm. 

See the full timings for Stage One, Tour de France 2014.

Stage One, Tour de France 2014: the climbs

Côte de Grinton Moor climb, Tour de France 2014

There are three categorised climbs on Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014. The first, Côte de Cray, is Category 4, then the other two, Côte de Buttertubs and Côte de Grinton Moor, are Category 3.

Climbs on Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Côte de Cray (Category 4)

Cote de Cray Tour de France climb

Also known as Kidstones Pass, this climb begins shortly after the Tour goes through the village of Buckden, Wharfedale. The riders will climb with Buckden Pike up to their right. Read more about Côte de Cray...

Climbs on Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Côte de Buttertubs (Category 3)

Cote de Buttertubs Tour de France climb

Buttertubs Pass is likely to be the most spectacular and popular climb of Stage 1. From Hawes, the riders will ascend towards Simonstone, near Hardraw Force, then on up to the top of the climb at 526m, overlooked by Great Shunner Fell. Read more about the Côte de Buttertubs...

Climbs on Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Côte de Grinton Moor (Category 3)

Cote de Grinton Moor, Tour de France climb

This climb begins at Grinton, just after Reeth. The riders will take Whipperdale Bank, up onto moorland used by the Ministry of Defence as a firing range and for military exercises. The heather-covered hillsides are spectacular. Read more about Côte de Grinton Moor...

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Harewood House

Harewood House

Harewood House is a graceful stately home, standing within charming grounds. 

It was built in the mid-1700s, for Edwin Lascelles. The building was done by John Carr of York, with interiors by Robert Adam, furnishings by Thomas Chippendale, and the garden by Capability Brown. 

Inside the house, you can visit State Rooms, bedrooms, and the library; there's also a Below Stairs section, that includes the Old Kitchen. One of the house's treasures is Chippendale's State Bed.

There's an impressive art collection, with watercolours painted by JMW Turner when he visited Harewood House aged 22. There are also family portraits by Reynolds, and temporary exhibitions under the name Harewood Contemporary. 

The gardens are extensive, and include a popular Bird Garden, with penguins, and an Adventure Playground. 

The ruins of Harewood Castle, begun in 1366 when Sir William de Aldeburgh was given a licence to crenellate (!), may open to the public when they are made sufficiently safe. 

Emmerdale has its own set in the grounds of Harewood House.


Harewood is organising and hosting the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling, which will see up to 50,000 people camp in the grounds. There'll be unlimited parking too. They are putting on a whole weekend of entertainment, and the highlight will be the visit of the race, after the faux départ, and before the real racing begins. There's a pause at Harewood, so anyone there should get a good look at the riders. 

Read more about the Yorkshire Festival of Cycling at Harewood...

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Kettlewell

Bridge in Kettlewell

Kettlewell, in Upper Wharfedale, is one of the most charming villages in the Yorkshire Dales. It featured as 'Knapely' in the film Calendar Girls. The population is about 340 (including Starbotton; 2010 figures).

The name Kettlewell is thought to originate from the Anglo-Saxon Chetelewelle, meaning bubbling spring or stream. Kettlewell Beck runs through the village, before flowing into the Wharfe just to the west. 

Kettlewell Beck and Racehorses Hotel

A market was established in Kettlewell in the 1200s. From 1700 to 1880, there was lead mining, and a smelting mill here. More recently, the village has made its living from agriculture (with Swaledale sheep found in the area) and tourism. Kettlewell is on the route of the Dales Way, and sits below Great Whernside. There are deer in the area, but they are shy and rarely sighted.

There are some historic houses in the village, dating from the 1600s and 1700s. The church was built in 1820. Kettlewell is well-supplied with pubs - there are three: the Racehorses, the Blue Bell, and the King's Head (currently closed). There's also a Youth Hostel, which incorporates the Post Office. 

Kettlewell hosts a popular scarecrow festival in August each year.

Blue Bell Inn, Kettlewell

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Yorkshire Dales

Grass Wood, near Grassington

The Yorkshire Dales National Park was established in 1954, and is an area of 680 square miles. It is a collection of river valleys and hills, which is part of the Pennines, but with almost all the rivers draining east towards the Vale of York. ('Dale' is a word that comes from the Germanic 'tal' or the Nordic 'dal').

The valleys are U- and V- shaped, due to the action of glaciers in the last ice age (the Devensian). The rock is largely carboniferous limestone, with some millstone grit in places. 

The scenery in the Yorkshire Dales is green upland pastures, grazed by sheep, and separated by dry stone walls. There are villages and hamlets, which have been there for a thousand years. Traditionally, they are close-knit and self-sufficient communities. 

Kettlewell church

Other elements of the landscape include meadows, where wild flowers and herbs grow; heather moorland, used for grouse shooting; and the remains of lead mines and lime kilns.  

As well as the 20,000 residents, there are 8 million visitors to the Yorkshire Dales each year. People come to enjoy the landscape by car, to wander around the villages, and for hiking. There's a long-distance footpath, the Dales Way; and the Pennine Way also crosses the Dales. Other leisure activities include cycling and potholing. 

One of the historic buildings in the Dales is Bolton Castle. 

Bolton Castle, Yorkshire Dales

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Aysgarth & AysgarthFalls

Aysgarth Falls

Aysgarth is a village of 178 people (2011 census). 

The name comes from the Old Norse eiki (oak) and skaro (open space), so means something like oak trees in an open space. At the time of the Norman invasion, the manor was held by Cnut (presumably a Norseman). Thereafter, Alan of Brittany was the owner. In the Domesday Book, it is referred to as Echescard.

Aysgarth is famous for Aysgarth Falls, which featured in the film 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves'. There are three flights of falls in the one mile stertch of the river Ure near Aysgarth - High Force, west of the village, Middle Force, just east of it, and Lower Force, a little further east. They are broad, rather than very high. There's a nature trail through the woods (Freeholders' Wood and St Josephs Wood).

The rock here is part of the Yoredale geological series, laid down on the sea bed 300 million years ago. It is hard limestone, with thin bands of soft shale. During the last Ice Age, the glaciers in Bishopdale ground deeper than those in Wensleydale. After the glaciers melted, this meant that the river Ure had to drop to meet up with Bishopdale Beck.

In Aysgarth itself, the church of St Andrews (rebuilt 1536) is an impressive building, which contains a rood screen dating from the 1500s, probably from Jervaulx. (Jervaulx was affected by the Dissolution of the Monasteries, 1536-41). 

Aysgarth also hosts the Yorkshire Carriage Museum, in an old water mill, with a large collection of horse-drawn carriages.

Aysgarth used to be on the North Eastern Railway until 1954. The Wensleydale Railway, which uses this line, may eventually be extended to Aysgarth. 

Accommodation includes the Aysgarth Falls Hotel, and the George & Dragon Inn.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Wensleydale

View from Hawes   Nappa Hall, Wensleydale

Wensleydale is amongst the best-known of the Yorkshire Dales, because of Wensleydale cheese. 

Its old name, Yoredale, comes from name of the river, the Ure; but its present name comes from the village of Wensley, formerly the valley's market town. The name Wensley, in turn, comes from the pagan god Woden's ley, or meadow. 

Other villages in this Dale include Castle Bolton, where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in Bolton Castle, Aysgarth, Bainbridge, and Hawes.



Bainbridge is where the shortest river in England (the river Bain, which runs out of Semer Water) meets the river Ure. The remains of a Roman fort are just to the east of the village. 

In Norman times, the area was dense forest, and a number of villagers worked as foresters. Each evening, the Bainbridge hornblower would sound the horn, to guide foresters and travellers back to the village. The horn now hangs in the Rose & Crown, and it's sounded at 10pm from 27th September until Shrove Tuesday.


Hawes Post Office   Gayle Beck, Hawes

The main town in Wensleydale today is Hawes. (The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon haus).

Hawes is the home of Wensleydale cheese, Wallace's favourite in Wallace and Gromit. You can find out about it by visiting the Wensleydale Creamery Visitor Centre in Hawes, which has a cheese-making museum (where you can see traditional cheese-making in action, and watch clips of Wallace & Gromit films), coffee shop, restaurant, and cheese shop. 

Hawes was also a rope-making village, and at the Hawes Ropemakers, you can see traditional ropemaking in progress. Outhwaites still make ropes commercially. 

The old railway station in Hawes is home to the Dales Countryside museum, which includes a National Park Information Centre, and displays on the Dales way of life and traditions - with themes including lead-mining, farming, peat-cutting, and knitting. 

Hardraw Force & Butter Tubs pass

Hardraw Force   Green Dragon, Hardraw

North of Hawes is Hardraw Force, the highest above-ground waterfall in England. To visit, you have to go through the bar of the Green Dragon Inn, and pay a small entrance fee. Like Aysgarth, these falls were used as a location in 'Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves.' 

Beyond Hardraw is Buttertubs pass, which goes up and over to Swaledale. The pass gets its name from a group of fluted limestone potholes 20m deep, which are known as 'buttertubs' - possibly because farmers would rest there on their way to market, and during hot weather, lower the butter they had produced into the potholes to keep it cool.

The Buttertubs, North Yorkshire

The Wensleydale railway

The Wensleydale railway is a heritage steam railway, which runs from Leeming Bar to Redmire, a distance of 16 miles. Eventually, they plan to run trains further west, to Castle Bolton, Aysgarth, Hawes, and Garsdale.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Swaledale

Swaledale    Swaledale sheep

Swaledale is the nothernmost Dale in the National Park, named after its river, the Swale. It's known for the relics of its lead-mining industry, its field barns, or laithes, and stark beauty of its landscapes. The rock here is limestone, and the valley was formed by glacial action in the last ice age.

Near the head of the valley is the village of Keld, where accommodation includes Keld Lodge. As well as the B6270, footpaths link all the villages down the valley, from Keld, via Thwaite, Muker, Satron, Gunnerside, Low Row, Feetham, and Healaugh, to Reeth. 

Swaledale has its own breed of sheep, the Swaledale, which has off-white wool and rounded horns. They are hardy sheep, well-suited to exposed regions. They are bred for their meat, and for their wool, though it is coarse and mainly used for carpets and insulation. Swaledale cheese used to be made from ewes' milk, but is now made from cows' milk.

Swaledale attracts tourists, but not in such numbers as Wharfedale. Keld is the crossing point of the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast path, so many walkers visit. In May and June each year, people come to the Dale for the Swaledale Festival, with classical, jazz and folk music on the programme, as well as walks.

Muker and Gunnerside

Muker   Farmer's Arms, Muker

The pub in the village of Muker is The Farmer's Arms. Near Gunnerside are many old lead mines, especially around Gunnerside Gill, and a leaflet for a walk around them is available from the Post Office. 



Reeth, which was noted in the Domesday Book, is Swaledale's main village, with a population of just under a thousand people. It is set around a triangular green, and is home to the Swaledale Museum. North-west of Reeth, up Arkengarthdale, is Britain's highest pub, the Tan Hill Inn. It was originally built to serve coal miners, producing coal for the lead mines and smelting mills of the valley. 


Grinton St Andrew's church   Grinton Bridge Inn

Just beyond Reeth, on the other side of the river, is Grinton. The church there, dedicated to St Andrew, dates from the 1400s, with fragments left of the Norman church (late 1100s). It's sometimes known as 'the Cathedral of the Dales'. Before the church was built at Muker, it was the only church in the Dale, and the bodies of the dead were carried down the footpath from as far as Keld, 16 miles away. The path became known as 'Corpse Way'. They used wicker coffins, to lighten the load for the pall-bearers, and there are still long, flat rocks along the way, known as coffin stones, where they could pause and rest.

The Bridge Inn, Grinton, is a C15th coaching inn which is popular with walkers, and has folk and blues music on Thursday evenings. (If you play an instrument, you're welcome to bring it along).

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Leyburn

Bolton Arms, Leyburn

Leyburn is a market town with a population of 2,183. It's name is ley (meaning clearing) burn (stream).

It has a large market square, and Friday is market day. There is also a monthly farmers' market. 

Leyburn hosts the Dales Festival of Food and Drink (May Bank Holiday), and the Wensleydale Agricultural Show (end of August).

Many of the walks from Leyburn begin on Leyburn Shawl, a wooded escarpment to the west of the town, said to be named after a shawl dropped here by Mary Queen of Scots, as she tried to escape from Bolton Castle.

Leyburn has a station on the Wensleydale railway.

The Tottenham Hotspur and England footballer Michael Dawson comes from Leyburn.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Middleham

Middleham bridge   Middleham

'Ham' means village, so Middleham is the middle village. 


It has been settled since Roman times: after the 9th Legion conquered York in 69AD, they built the Great North Road, and a branch of it went via Middleham to Bainbridge. There was a Roman guard station near Middleham, to control traffic on the river Ure. 

After the Norman Conquest, it was given to Alan Rufus, William the Conqueror's nephew. He built a wooden motte and bailey castle, and its earthworks can still be seen on William's Hill, immediately south of Middleham. The present castle was begun in 1190. Middleham was referred to as 'Medelai' in the Domesday Book.

In 1389, the lord of Middleham manor got royal permission for a weekly market and an annual fair. 

By 1462, the castle belonged to Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick (known as the Kingmaker), and in that year, Richard - the future king Richard III - came to learn the skills of knighthood. He met Neville's daughter, Anne, here, and married her in 1472. (Richard III died at the Battle of Bosworth Field - the last English king to die in battle. His remains have recently been discovered).

The castle was dismantled in 1646, but significant ruins remain. 

Middleham castle   Horse at Middleham

Horse racing

Middleham has been known for horse race training since Isaac Cape set up here in 1765. Racing is the number one employer, and there is a Middleham Trainers' Association. Trainers in Middleham include Mark Johnston and James Bethell.

The Middleham Jewel

The Middleham Jewel was discovered in 1985 by a metal detector-ist. It is a gold pendant with a sapphire stone from the late 1400s, which is now displayed in the Yorkshire museum in York.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Jervaulx Abbey

Jervaulx Abbey   East Witton

Jervaulx was one of the great Cistercian Abbeys of Yorkshire. The Abbey was founded in 1145 by Peter Quintain, a monk from Savigny in France, on land near Askrigg in Wensleydale granted by the Earl of Richmond. (It was called the Abbey of Fors, and the village on that site is now called Grange). It moved to the present site near East Witton in 1156.

Jervaulx, previously Jorvalle, means Ure Valley. The monastery thrived here, and at its height, owned a great deal of land. The monks bred horses, and made Wensleydale cheese.

Since 1971, it has been owned by the Burdon family. When the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission inspected the site in 1982, they awarded it the dubious honour of 'most dangerous place in the UK.' It was restored and made safe between 1984 and 2000.

There is parking, tea rooms, luxury accommodation, and they put on events.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Masham

Masham market place   King's Head Masham

Masham has a population of 1,205 (2011 census). Its name is Anglo-Saxon in origin, coming from Maessa's Ham, meaning homestead or village belonging to Maessa. 

A settlement was built here by the Angles, probably because the site is close to the river Ure, but rises just high enough above it to be safe from flooding. It is also on the old Roman road from York to Wensleydale. (Signs of a Roman presence, likely a marching camp, have been found at Roomer Common).

In about 900AD, Vikings invaded, and destroyed the church at Masham. The present church has the stump of a prayer cross from the 700s, but most of the structure is Norman, with some additions from the C15th. It was the Vikings who introduced sheep to the region.

The most striking feature of Masham is its very big market place. The town was granted a charter for a market in 1250, and the market place needed to be large to accommodate the many sheep brought here by the monks of Jervaulx and Fountains Abbeys. There's a market on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Masham is known for it breweries - Theakstons and Black Sheep. The Theakson family had brewed Theakstons beer in Masham for six generations, but it was taken over by Scottish & Newcastle. Rather than work for a multi-national, Paul Theakston set up a new brewery in an old building (the former premises of Lightfoot's brewery) in Masham, and the Black Sheep Brewery was born in 1992. Black Sheep is available in many of the pubs in and around Masham. The brewery also has a visitor centre. 

The Theakston family regained control of Theakstons in 2003, and this brewery also has a visitor centre. Their best known beer is Old Peculiar.

Black Sheep Brewery

Events in Masham include the Steam Engine & Fair Organ Rally, and the bi-anual Arts Festival.

Some of the route of Stage One is covered by this Daily Telegraph article, 'Great British Drives: Harrogate to Masham', which includes a mention of a visit to the Black Sheep Brewery and the White Bear Hotel.

Masham is planning to turn the weekend of the Tour into a big event/celebration. There'll be a big screen on the recreation ground, entertainment for kids, French wine and local beer, food stalls, live music, fireworks, and more. Read about the events in Masham over the Tour de France weekend.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: West Tanfield

West Tanfield

This is an ancient settlement, which was referred to as 'Tanefield' in the Domesday Book. 

The Marmion Tower is a historic feature of the village. Dating from the 1400s, it is a gatehouse which was part of a manor (which no longer exists) that once belonged to the Marmion family.

West Tanfield has set up a Tour de France website. They'll have camping for tents as well as space for camper vans and caravans. There'll also be parking. The Harrogate Advertiser quotes David Powell of the West Tanfield Tour de France Committee as follows, 'We expect substantial traffic directed here from the A1. We have organised 60 acres of parking to accommodate this and invested some of our fundraising into marshalling, security and other facilities.'

There'll be a market area, food outlets, stalls, and big screens. Entertainment will be put on on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Pennine Brewery in Well is main sponsor. Money raised will go to the local community.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: North Stainley

North Stainley   North Stainley, the Old Coach House

North Stainley is a charming village of 518 people. There's accommodation at The Old Coach House, and Lightwater Valley Theme Park and Bird of Prey centre are very close by.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Ripon

Ripon Town Hall   Ripon Tour de France

Ripon is said to be the 4th smallest city in England, with a population of 16,702 (2011 census). It is at the confluence of the rivers Laver, Skell, and Ure.


There was no known Roman presence at Ripon (the nearest military camp being at North Stainley). Ripon was founded by St Wilfrid during the Angle kingdom of Northumbria, around 658AD, at the time that he brought craftsmen from the continent to build the church of St Peter. The settlement was then known as Inhrypum.

The area was under Viking rule for a time. Following the Norman invasion, there was a rebellion in the north in 1069, which was suppressed ('the Harrying of the North'). Ripon suffered at this time, and its population was reduced.

In the 1100s, Ripon developed a wool trade, selling to Florentine merchants, and in the 1300s, it began making and selling cloth. In the 1500s and 1600s, Ripon became a specialist in spurs - hence the expression, 'as true steel as Ripon rowells.'

Ripon Hornblower

Ripon Hornblower   Ripon obelisk

During the time of Edward I and Edward II (1200s and 1300s), there were incursions by invaders from Scotland, and Ripon had a wakeman, who was responsible for the safety of the city, and enforcing a curfew. (Nevertheless, Ripon had to pay a sum of money to the Scots on one occasion to prevent them burning the city).

The tradition of the wakeman lives on in the Ripon Hornblower. At 9pm, a horn is blown from the four corners of the obelisk on market square, in a ceremony known as 'setting the watch.' (It is claimed that this has happened every evening since 886AD). 

Ripon Cathedral

Ripon Cathedral   Ripon Cathedral from the market place

The crypt of Ripon Cathedral dates from the mid-600s, when the first stone church was built here (dedicated to St Peter in 672AD). St Wilfrid was responsible for the first church, and he is interred in a tomb in the Cathedral. (He is also celebrated in the annual St Wilfrid's procession).

Subsequent churches were destroyed by the English king in 948, and during the Harrying of the North in 1069. Much of the present structure was built in the 1100s under Roger de Pont l' Eveque, but the Early English west front dates from the 1200s, and the nave was rebuilt in the 1500s and 1600s in Perpendicular style. It became a Cathedral in 1836.

Ripon's attractions

There has been racing in Ripon since 1664, but the current racecourse dates from 1900.

Close to Ripon are Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal water garden and deer park.

Read about preparations for the race in Ripon, and the events planned for the Tour de France in Ripon.

Stage 1, Tour de France 2014: Frequently Asked Questions

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Otley?

The riders are due in Otley between 12.12 and 12.13 on Saturday 5th July 2014. The publicity caravan will begin passing through about 2 hours earlier. See all the timings for Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Addingham?

The riders are due in Addingham between 12.33 and 12.36, depending on their average speed.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Skipton?

The riders will arrive  in Skipton at 12.47 (based on an average speed of 44kmh), or at 12.49 or 12.52 (on the basis of two slightly slower average speeds).

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Kettlewell?

The riders will arrive in Kettlewell between 13.20 and 13.28, according to the Tour de France organisers' estimated timings.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive at Kidstones Pass (the Cray climb)?

The race arrives at Kidstones Pass between 13.32 and 13.41.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Aysgarth?

The riders will arrive in Aysgarth between 13.53 and 14.04, depending on their average speed.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Hawes?

The Tour de France arrives in Hawes between 14.13 and 14.27.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive at Buttertubs pass?

The race arrives at Buttertubs pass between 14.22 and 14.36.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Reeth?

The riders will arrive in Reeth between 14.50 and 15.07, depending on their average speed.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive at the Grinton Moor climb?

The Tour de France arrives at the Grinton Moor climb between 14.57 and 15.15.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Leyburn?

The race arrives in Leyburn between 15.07 and 15.26.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Masham?

The riders will arrive in Masham between 15.31 and 15.53, depending on their average speed.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in West Tanfield?

The Tour de France arrives in West Tanfield between 15.40 and 16.02.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Ripon?

The race arrives in Ripon between 15.51 and 16.14.

What time does Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014 arrive in Harrogate?

The riders are projected to enter Harrogate between 16.17 and 16.42, and get to the finish line between 16.20 and 16.46. See the full timings for Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014.

Where are the spectator hubs on Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014?

We have a complete list of the locations of the official spectator hubs on Stages 1 and 2 of the Tour de France 2014 in Yorkshire.