Grizedales is the highest, but probably the least well known, of three hills in close proximity that top the 500m contour between Malham and Settle.
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Grizedales is a curiously named fell as it is a hill top not a valley. ‘Grise’ or ‘grize’ in the title usually has it derivation from the Norse word for ‘pig’. I wonder if the plural ‘dales’ on the end refers to the numerous little valleys in the limestone uplands to the west of Grizedales’s summit and which come to a sudden end at Langcliffe Scar.
It is interesting to note that when traced on the map the extent of Grizedales includes not only Langcliffe Scar but arguably also Malham Cove itself. While Langcliffe Scar and Malham Cove are both examples of limestone scenery at its best things are much more modest higher up the fell. In fact the summit area is largely grass though there is a distinctive though fairly small limestone edge running just to the west of the summit.
Although little known and rarely visited the top of Grizedales is remarkably easy to access. In fact it stands just a 5-10 minute walk to the north of the top of the Malham – Settle bridleway which at this point is also part of the Pennine Bridleway and the Dales High Way.
The walk to the summit from the bridleway is on grass throughout, it is pathless but very easy. The summit itself is unmarked but is an obvious grassy rise. The panorama from the top is excellent, especially the northern arc that takes in the Yorkshire Three Peaks, Fountains Fell and Malham Tarn. Further round to the east Buckden Pike and Great Whernside can be well seen as well.
While Grizedales is well seen from its two near neighbours, Kirkby Fell and Rye Loaf Hill, it does not particularly stand out in longer distance views. The lower Rye Loaf Hill tends to be easier to identify due to its distinctively shaped summit. Grizedales tends to appear as a long curving hill, an aspect that it takes on when viewed from the northern end of Malham Tarn.