The centre of Skipton has an unfamiliar look to it this morning. With the Grand Depart of the Tour de France due to pass through in only a few hours, final preparations are being put in place during the early morning rain.

Where normally one would expect market stalls to be set up, Skipton's High Street setts are bounded by steel barriers for the thousands of people expected to watch the world's top cyclists ride through the town before heading into the Dales.

Most of the barriers were put in place on Friday evening and some people had already claimed prime viewing spots by about 6am this morning. Smaller communities have been making their own preparations, as villages take on a carnival appearance and fields are thrown open as temporary car parks and viewing points. Less welcoming was the morning rain.

It later stopped, though the skies remained grey. Forecasts suggest they may clear by the middle of the day.