The British Isles, the largest group of islands in Europe, have no tall mountains by world standards: they have many lower, rugged ranges.
Relief and Structure of the British Isles
The country has hills, lowlands, uplands, highlands, and mountain regions. According to the distribution of the mountain ranges, the British Isles are divided into two main portions: Highland Britain (including Wales, Scotland, Northern England, Devon and Cornwall), and Lowland Britain (comprising most of England).
The highland masses are rather low (at least in comparison with the Alps and with the Pyrenees in Southern Europe), yet they are rich in scenic beauty and have a wild, rugged grandeur.
The relief map of the British Isles shows certain features which account for the distribution of population and human activity, as well as for some historical divisions and racial differences. In general the highlands are distributed to the north-west of the united Kingdom, the lowlands to the south-east. As one proceeds westwards and northwards the land rises; the plains, the downs and the foothills of the south and the Midlands gradually swell into the hills of Devon and Cornwall, the mountains of Wales and Cumberland, the Pennine Range (the "backbone" of England), the Southern Uplands of Scotland and the Northern Highlands, of which the Grampians (or Central Highlands) constitute the most impressive group.
In the British Isles most mountains are only moderately rugged, but steep rocky peaks abound in Wales (Snowdonia), Scotland (Trossachs), Cumberland, and in the Peak District (Derbyshire); in summer they are largely covered with purple heather, and are greatly frequented by tourists and vacationists; so are the hill districts of the Cotswolds, Chilterns, Wolds, Fens and Weald, and the Yorkshire and Devon Moors.
England, in the southeast part of the United Kingdom, is separated from Scotland on the north by the granite Cheviot Hills. The highest peak is:
- Scafell (3,210 feet, or 977 metres).
In Ireland the high ground is mainly distributed near the coast, especially on the west; irregular mountain ridges enclose the central plain drained by the river Shannon.The geography of Ireland includes the Mourne Mountains, Antrim Plateau, Sperrin Mountains.
The highest peak is:
- Slieve Donard (Mourne Mountains) (2,795 feet, or 852 meters)
Scotland is the most mountainous country in the British Isles, with the North-Western Highlands. The tallest mountains in the British Isles are all found in Scotland. The southern and eastern parts of Scotland are commonly referred to as the Scottish Lowlands, but these regions also have relevant ranges of hills. The highest peak is:
- Ben Nevis (4,406 feet, or 1344 meters)
The Cambrian Mountains occupy most of the territory of Wales. The highest peak is:
- Snowdon in Wales (3,560 feet, or 1085 meters).
British and America, Past and Present - Petrini Torino
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