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The northern part of the island of Great Britain is Scotland.
Rugged uplands separate it from England to the south. Within this border country the Scots fought many wars to keep their independence. In 1707 Scotland joined with England, and the entire island became a single kingdom, Great Britain. The Scots, however, remain a distinct people, and they have a long history different from that of England.
Scotland is a land of romance. It contains ruins of many ancient castles and abbeys, and there is a haunting beauty in its windswept mountains, long deep valleys, and ribbon lakes. It attracts many tourists, particularly from the United States and England.
Scotland is a poor country, however, a land in which it is difficult to make a living. Perhaps that is why it has bred such a vigorous people.
The coast of Scotland is deeply pierced by inlets from the sea. The larger inlets are called firths. Long, narrow inlets are called sea lochs (lakes). On the rugged west coast the sea lochs are framed by great cliffs and resemble the fjords of Norway.
Numerous islands line the coast. In the north are two large groups, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands. Close to the west coast are the Hebrides group, Arran, and Bute. (See also Orkney Islands; Shetland Islands. ) The land may be divided into three regions: the Highlands in the north, the central Lowlands, and the southern Uplands.
The Highlands are wild and picturesque. Their rocky, barren summits were chiseled by Ice Age glaciers and the rainfall of many centuries. Purple heather clothes the lower slopes in late summer. The valleys are usually steep-sided glens, with a long, narrow loch at the bottom. A long valley called Glenmore crosses the Highlands from southwest to northeast. The Caledonian Canal links this valleys lochs to form a waterway from the Firth of Lorne to Moray Firth. South of the Highlands are the Grampian Mountains, highest in the British Isles. Ben Nevis, the tallest peak, rises to 4, 406 feet (1, 343 meters). Better known is Ben Lomond, which rises from the shore of Loch Lomond, Scotlands largest lake.
The central Lowlands are not large. From southwest to northeast the greatest length is nearly 90 miles (145 kilometers), but they are only 30 miles (48 kilometers) across the narrow waist of Scotland from the head of the Firth of Clyde in the west to the Firth of Forth in the east. These firths provide valuable outlets to the sea but constrict communications from north to south into the waist. The soil is fertile, and four coalfields underlie the area.
Here is Scotlands chief farming district and also its largest cities. In the east is Edinburgh, Scotlands historic capital. In the west is Glasgow, hub of a great industrial area.
Almost 90 percent of Scotlands population live in the Lowlands.
In the southern Uplands the hills are less than 2, 000 feet (600 meters) high. Their rounded or flat tops are often capped with dark peat. The slopes are covered with ...

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