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..Mountains and hills of Scotland


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Scotland is the most mountainous country in the United Kingdom.
The area north and west of the Highland Boundary Fault is known as
the Highlands, and contains the country's main mountain ranges.
Scotland's mountain ranges, in a rough north to south direction are:
1. The Highlands & Islands, The Hills of the Central Lowlands, the Southern Uplands. The zone includes Britain's highest peaks, especially Ben Nevis at over 4000 feet, with several similar peaks in the Cairngorms.


A country of striking natural beauty, Scotland is characterized by rugged hills and
by deep glacial lakes known as lochs.
It is almost entirely surrounded by the sea, which encroaches
(oprukken) in deeply
penetrating inlets
(inhammen) and forms estuaries known as firths, at the mouths
of rivers.



Scotland is traditionally divided into three topographic areas: the  Highlands in the north, the  Midland Valley (Central Lowlands), and the  Southern Uplands. (The latter two areas are included in the Lowlands cultural region.) Low-lying areas extend through the Midland Valley and along the greater part of the eastern seaboard. The east coast contrasts with the west in its smoother outline and thus creates an east-west distinction in topography as well as a north-south one. The Highlands are bisected by the fault line of  Glen Mor (Glen Albyn), which is occupied by a series of lochs (lakes), the largest of which is  Loch Ness, famous for its probably mythical monster. North of Glen Mor is an ancient plateau, which, through long erosion, has been cut into a series of peaks of fairly uniform height separated by glens (valleys) carved out by glaciers. The northwestern fringe of the mainland is particularly barren, the rocks of the Lewisian Complex having been worn down by severe glaciation to produce a hummocky landscape, dotted by small lochs and rocks protruding from thin, acidic soil. The landscape is varied by spectacular Torridonian sandstone mountains, weathered into sheer cliffs, rock terraces, and pinnacles.


Southeast of Glen Mor are the  Grampian Mountains (also shaped by glaciation), though there are intrusions such as the granitic masses of the Cairngorm Mountains. The Grampians are on the whole less rocky and rugged than the mountains of the northwest, being more rounded and grassy with wider plateau areas. But many have cliffs and pinnacles that provide challenges for mountaineers, and the area contains Britain’s highest mountains, reaching a maximum elevation of 4,406 feet (1,343 metres) at Ben Nevis. There are some flatter areas—the most striking being  Rannoch Moor, a bleak expanse of bogs and granitic rocks—with narrow, deep lochs such as Rannoch and Ericht. The southeastern margin of the Highlands is clearly marked by the Highland Boundary Fault, running northeast to southwest from Stonehaven, just south of Aberdeen, to Helensburgh on the River Clydeand passing through Loch Lomond, Scotland’s largest stretch of inland water.



The southern boundary of the Midland Valley is not such a continuous escarpment, but the fault beginning in the northeast with the Lammermuir and Moorfoot hills and extending to Glen App, in the southwest, is a distinct dividing line. In some ways the label Lowlands is a misnomer, for, although this part of Scotland is low by comparison with adjoining areas, it is by no means flat. The landscape includes hills such as the Sidlaws, the Ochils, the Campsies, and the Pentlands, composed of volcanic rocks rising as high as 1,898 feet (579 metres). The Southern Uplands are not as high as the Highlands. Glaciation has produced narrow, flat valleys separating rolling mountains. To the east of Nithsdale the hills are rounded, gently sloping, and grass-covered, providing excellent grazing for sheep, and they open out along the valley of the lower Tweed into the rich farming land of the Merse. To the west of Nithsdale the landscape is rougher, with granitic intrusions around Loch Doon, and the soil is more peaty and wet. The high moorlands and hills, reaching up to 2,766 feet (843 metres) at Merrick, are also suitable for sheep farming. The uplands slope toward the coastal plains along the Solway Firth in the south and to the machair and the Mull of Galloway farther west.



Uplift and an eastward tilting of the Highlands some 50 million years ago (during the Eocene Epoch) formed a watershed near the west coast. As a result, most rivers drain eastward, but deeply glaciated rock basins in the northern Highlands form numerous large lochs. There are fewer lochs in the Grampian Mountains, although the area contains the large lochs of Ericht, Rannoch, and Tay. Well-graded rivers such as the Dee, the Don, and the Spey meander eastward and northeastward to the North Sea. The Tay and Forth emerge from the southern Grampians to flow out of the eastern Lowlands in two large estuaries. The Clyde and the Tweed both rise in the Southern Uplands, the one flowing west into the Firth of Clyde and the other east into the North Sea, while the Nith, the Annan, and a few other rivers run south into the Solway Firth. Lochs are numerous in the Highlands, ranging from moraine-dammed lochans (pools) in mountain corries (cirques) to large and deep lochs filling rock basins. In the Lowlands and the Southern Uplands, lochs are shallower and less numerous.








Land Regions:
From a geological perspective the country has 3 subdivisions:
1. the Highlands and Islands.
2. the Central Lowlands
3. the Southern Uplands.

...Physical. map. Scotland
GGF = Great Glen Fault.
HBF = Highland Boundary Fault.
SUF = Southern Uplands Fault.

1. The Highlands and Islands: steile, hoge bergen en diep ingesneden dalen
The Highlands include the rugged and mountainous regions of Scotland north
of the Highland Boundary Fault, (although the exact boundaries are not clearly
defined, particularly to the east: see map with lowland north of Aberdeen).

The Highlands are an area of mountain plateaus broken up by straths 
(broad valleys) and glens (narrower valleys).
Apart from narrow strips of comparatively fertile coastline, which are much
broader and more extensive on the east coast than on the west coast, the
population is concentrated in the valleys.

The Highlands on the mainland are split into two sections by the Great Glen :
.. a. Northwest of the Great Glen lies the Northwest Highlands.
.. b. Southeast of it the Grampian Mountains.
These Grampians present, on their precipitous northern slopes, some of
Scotland's wildest scenery.
Here is also the highest mountain in the British Isles: Ben Nevis (1,343 meters).
The Cairngorms form the eastern group of the Grampians.
Four summits exceed 4,000 feet (1220 meters).

A number of islands have also quite high mountains:
( 992 m) , Arran ( 874m) and Rùm ( 810 m).

The Great glen is natural depression that runs from Fort William to Inverness.
.. It has a chain of lochs and was used for the construction of the Caledonian Canal.)

2. The Central Lowlands:
The Central Lowlands lies between the Highlands and the Southern Uplands.
Here resides the majority of the country's population.
This is a geologically-defined area of relatively low-lying land, consisting
of rolling plains interrupted by volcanic  outcroppings.

The northern boundary of the Central Lowlands is the Highland Boundary Fault.
It is a a wall-like escarpment
Their southern boundary is the Southern Uplands fault. It is only sharp near the
Although described as Lowlands, this area contains an almost continuous line
of hills
between Renfrewshire (west of Glasgow) and the Sidlaw Hills, northwest
of Dundee, but with natural gaps used by roads and railways.
The highest hill in this region is Ben Cleuch ( 720 m), in the detached
(geïsoleerde) range of the Ochil Hills.
Between the Sidlaw Hills and the Highlands lie Strathmore, a fertile lowland
area, and around Edinburgh the Lothian plain.
( Denk eraan dat in Schotland Lowland een relatief begrip is.
Het is niet te vergelijken met lowland in de tegenstelling upland-lowland.
Daar betekent lowland: land lager dan 1,000 ft (305m).
Hier in Schotland is Lowland soms veel hoger. De hoogste top in de
Central Lowlands (Ben Cleuch) is dan ook maar liefst 720 m hoog)

• The Highlands meet the Central Lowlands.
• The northern boundary of the Central Lowlands is the Highland Boundary Fault.
... It is a a wall-like escarpment (steilrand).

3. The Southern Uplands:
The Southern Uplands form a continuous belt across southern Scotland from
Galloway in the west to the Borders in the east.
They are not very clearly marked off from the Central Lowlands.
They consist of country not unlike the Highlands, but on a smaller scale and less
elevated. The hills are usually rounded and grass-grown and the valleys wider
and less rugged.
( Dit gebied heeft een heuvelachtiger karakter.
Hier zijn dus geen steile, hoge bergen en diep ingesneden dalen.)
The highest peak in this area is Merrick (843 m), in the Galloway district.
Many other hills in the Southern Uplands exceed 2,000 feet (610 meters).

• The Southern Upland Way at Scabcleuch in the Scottish Borders.

Coasts and Islands:
The west coast of Scotland is generally a wild, deeply indented
(ingesneden) mountain wall.
Sea lochs or firths
(fjorden, zeearmen) run deeply into the land and are
themselves studded with islands. The Firth of Clyde, for example, encloses
islands e.g. Arran.
The east coast also includes long sections of steep cliffs broken up by extensive
stretches of low, sandy coast. The chief inlets
(inhammen) on the east —
the firths
(zeearmen) of Forth and Tay on the southeast, and the Moray, Cromarty,
and Dornoch firths on the northeast—run far back into the coastal plain.
The north coast is deeply indented
(ingesneden) by several narrow
sea lochs, which have more in common with the western than with the eastern

There are nearly 800 islands in all of Scotland; however, most of them are
Only a handful of these, including several used for lighthouses, lie off the
east coast.
Close to the north of the Scottish mainland lie the Orkney Islands and far to the
northeast of them, the Shetlands, outposts of the early Norsemen.
However, the great bulk of the Scottish islands are found on the west coast.
They are mostly divided into two groups, the Inner and the Outer Hebrides.
The Inner Hebrides, reached by short ferry rides, stretch from Skye in the north
to Islay in the south.
The Outer Hebrides, sometimes called the "Long Island," lie 48 km or more out
to sea, stretching from Lewis with Harris, which together make up one island, in
the north, to Berneray in the south.
Still farther to the west is the small group of islands collectively called St. Kilda.

• The Quillin Ridge on the Isle of Skye.

Rivers and Lakes:
A considerable number of the largest rivers enter the sea as firths
( fjorden, zeearmen) named for the rivers, as, for example, the Firth of Clyde
and Firth of Forth.
Except for the Clyde, kept open by continual dredging, Scotland has hardly any
navigable rivers.
The Tweed, and many other rivers are well known for their salmon fishing.

The Highlands contains a great many lakes, including:
Loch Lomond, the largest lake in all of Britain, and Ness.
There are only a few lakes in the Central Lowlands and the Southern Uplands

The River Tweed at Melrose. This is one of Scotlands most important salmon rivers.
Als het een tijdje niet geregend heeft, krijg je mooi helder rustig stromend water, zoals hier op
de foto. Dit is ideaal voor de vliegvissers.
Na regen veranderd de rivier echter in een woeste stroom met veel slib erin. Dan blijven de
vissers thuis


1. The Northern / Northwest Highlands are generally mountainous with many lofty peaks.

The Grampian Mountains extend southwest to northeast, and include Scotland's (and the UK's) highest point, Ben Nevis, at 1,344 meters.

Scotland has nearly 800 islands.
The major groups include the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland. Most are hilly and rugged. 

2. The Central Lowlands is a valley formed by ancient volcanic eruptions,
It is a relatively flat area punctuated by hills. 

3. The Southern Uplands is a hilly area with wide, green valleys, fronted in the south by the Cheviot Hills on the border with England. 

There are numerous bodies of inland freshwater including Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. The Tweed and Clyde are the largest rivers.





The highland zone

The creation of the highlands was a long process, yet elevations, compared with European equivalents, are low, with the highest summit,  Ben Nevis, only 1,343 metres above sea level.
In addition, the really mountainous areas above 2,000 feet (600 metres) often
form elevated plateaus with relatively smooth surfaces, reminders of the effects
of former periods of erosion.

Three main topographic regions:
Scotland’s three main topographic regions follow the northeast-to-southwest
of the ancient underlying rocks.
The  Highlands and the Southern Uplands are separated by the intervening
rift valley, or subsided structural block, called the Central Lowlands.

The Highlands:
The core of the Highlands is the elevated, worn-down surface of the  Grampian Mountains, with the  Cairngorm Mountains rising to elevations of more than
4,000 feet (1,200 metres).
This majestic mountain landscape is furrowed by numerous straths (wide valleys).
Occasional large areas of lowland, often fringed with long lines of sand dunes, add variety to the east. The Buchan peninsula, the Moray Firth estuarine flats, and the plain of Caithness—all low-lying areas—contrast sharply with the mountain scenery and show smoother outlines than do the glacier-scoured landscapes of the west, where northeast-facing hollows, or corries, separated by knife-edge ridges and deep glens, sculpt the surfaces left by earlier erosion.
The many freshwater lochs (lakes) further  enhance a landscape of wild beauty.
The linear Great Glen—where the Caledonian Canal now threads the chain of lakes that includes Loch Ness—is the result of a vast structural sideways tear in the whole mass of the Northwest Highlands.
To the northwest of Great Glen stretches land largely divided among agricultural smallholdings, or crofts; settlement is  intermittent and mostly coastal, a pattern clearly reflecting the pronounced dissection of a highland massif that has been scored and plucked by the Ice Age glaciers. Many sea-drowned, glacier-widened river valleys (fjords) penetrate deeply into the mountains, the  outliers of which rise from the sea in stately, elongated peninsulas or emerge in hundreds of offshore islands.

The Southern Uplands:
In comparison with the Scottish Highlands, the  Southern Uplands of Scotland present a more subdued relief, with elevations that never exceed 850 metres. The main hill masses are the  Cheviots, which reach 816 metres in elevation, while only Merrick and Broad Law have elevations above the 830-metre contour line.
Broad plateaus separated by numerous dales characterize these uplands, and in the west most of the rivers flow across the prevailing northeast-southwest trend, following the general slope of the plateau, toward the Solway Firth or the Firth of Clyde.
Bold masses of granite and the rugged imprint of former glaciers occasionally engender mountainous scenery.
In the east the valley network of the River Tweed and its many tributaries forms a broad lowland expanse between the Lammermuir and Cheviot hills.

The Central Lowlands (Midland Valley):
The Central Lowlands (Midland Valley) lies between great regular structural faults.
The northern boundary with the Highlands is a wall-like escarpment, but the boundary with the Southern Uplands is sharp only near the coast.
This vast trench is by no means a continuous plain, for high ground—often formed of sturdy, resistant masses of volcanic rock—meets the eye in all directions, rising above the low-lying areas that flank the rivers and the deeply penetrating estuaries of the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth.




The Highland Boundary Fault is a geologic fault
(= breuk) that traverses Scotland from Isle of Arran via Loch Lomond to Stonehaven in the east.
It separates two distinctly different physiographic regions:
the Highlands from the Central Lowlands, but in most places it is only recognizable as a change in topography.

A complementary fault, the Southern Uplands Fault, forms the southern boundary for the Central Lowlands region.
This fault runs fro
m south of the town of Ayr northeastward to Dunbar.

These 2 faults allowed the Central Lowlands to descend as a major rift.

A geological fault (= breuk) arises from the fracturing of the Earth's sur-
face. This causes rocks to be displaced vertically, horizontally or at some intermediate angle.

Bij de West Highland Way zag je de Highland Boundary Fault bij Loch Lomond. Daar stond je bij Conic Hill op deze scheiding tussen de Highlands en de Lowlands.
Het lidteken was nog goed te zien in een serie, recht achter elkaar liggende, eilanden.

Onderstaande kaart geeft alle uplands van heel Groot-Brittannië:

...Upland areas in Great Britain..
Upland areas = hoger dan 1000 feet ( 305 m ) = lichtbruin + donkerbruin


Bergen kunnen regen veroorzaken namelijk stuwingsregen:
Relatief warme, vochtige lucht van zee stijgt op tegen de helling van een berg.
Maar als de lucht stijgt, koelt ze af. De waterdamp condenseert dan tot druppels, vormt wolken, en het gaat regenen.
Aan de lijzijde van het gebergte (in het binnenland) daalt de lucht,
warmt op en wordt droger ( föhn ).

Hoe hoger de berg, hoe sterker dit proces zich voordoet.




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