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The southeastern part of England is the low-lying land with gentle hills and a coast, which is regular in outline.

Great Britain

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the official name of the state, which is sometimes referred to as Great Britain or Britain (after its major isle), England (after its major historic parts) or the British Isles.

The UK occupies the territory of the British Isles. It is an island state consisting of more than 5,500 large and small islands. There are several islands along the coasts, the most important of which are the Isle of Man and the Isle of Wight. The two main islands are: Great Britain (in which are England, Wales and Scotland) to the east and Ireland (in which are Northern Ireland and the independent Irish Republic) to the west. Northern Ireland occupies one third of the island of Ireland. It borders on the Irish Republic in the north.

Great Britain is an island lying off the north-western coastline of Europe between the Atlantic Ocean on the north and northwest and the North Sea on the east. The English Channel (or La Manche), which is 32 km wide, separates it from the mainland in the south. The Strait of Dover, 18 miles wide, (or Pas de Calais) divides it from France. Great Britain is separated from Belgium and Holland by the North Sea and from Ireland by the Irish Sea.

Western Scotland is fringed by the large archipelago known as the Hebrides and to the northeast of the Scottish mainland are the Orkney and the Shetland. All these have administrative ties with the mainland, but the Isle of Man, in the Irish Sea, and the Channel Islands, between Great Britain and France, are largely self-governing and are not part of the UK.

The UK is one of the world’s smaller countries (it is twice smaller than France or Spain), with an area of some 244,100 square kilometres. It is just less than 1000 km from the south coast to the extreme north of Scotland, and just less than 500 km across in the widest part. The UK consists of four main countries, which are: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The capital of the UK is London, in England. The Scottish capital is at Edinburgh, and the capital of Wales is Cardiff, the capital of Northern Ireland is Belfast.

No part of Great Britain lies more than one hundred miles from the coast. The coastline is broken and has a few bays and excellent natural harbors. Internationally famous ports include London, Bristol, Southampton, Portsmouth, Dover and others. Geographically the island of Great Britain is subdivided into two main regions: Lowland Britain and Highland Britain. The highest mountain Ben Nevis (1343) is in Scotland; the highest peak in Wales is Snowdon (1085).

The greater part of the land is flat. There are plenty of short rivers in Great Britain; the Severn is the longest one, while the Thames is the deepest and the most important one.


II

Due to the influence of the Gulf Stream, a warm ocean current washing Britain’s shore, the UK enjoys warmer winters and cooler summers than other countries at the same latitude. The climate is generally mild and temperate. The prevailing winds are south-western. They carry the warmth and moisture into Britain. The temperature is rarely above 32 C or below



- 10 C. There is much rain and fog in England. The average annual rainfall is more than 1,600 mm in the mountainous areas of the west and north, but less than 800 mm over central and eastern parts. Rain is fairly well distributed throughout the year, but, on average, the driest period is from March to June and the wettest months are from October to January.

The average range of temperature (from winter to summer) is from 15 to 23 degrees above zero. During a normal summer the temperature sometimes rises above 30 degrees in the south. Winter temperatures below 10 degree are rare. It seldom snows in winter, the frost is rare. January and February are usually the coldest months; July and August are the warmest. Still wind may bring winter cold in spring or summer days. Sometimes it brings the whirlwinds or hurricanes. Droughts are rare.

May, June and July are the months of longest daylight. The mean daily duration of sunshine varies from five hours in northern Scotland to eight hours in the Isle of Wight. The months of shortest daylight are November, December and January. During these months the sunshine is at a minimum, with an average of an hour a day in northern Scotland and two hours a day on the south coast of England.

All over the world Britain is notorious for its fogs. For many centuries, during the cold time of the year the English people have been using coal in their fireplaces in private houses, though smoke from factories contributed a great deal to trouble too. That kind of fog and smoke the English people used to call smog. The unusually thick smog in London in 1962 caused the death of some 4,000 people. During the 1960s and 1970s, laws were passed under which using open coal fires in homes in the city area was forbidden. The laws stopped much of the pollution from the factories, too. The ordinary damp mists, which afflict all parts of the country from time to time, are no worse than similar mists in many other countries.

So, we may say that the British climate has three main features: it is mild, humid and changeable. That means that it is never too hot or too cold.

This humid and mild climate is good for plants. The flora is varied. The trees and flowers begin to blossom early in spring. Britain was originally a land of vast forests, mainly oaks and beeches in the Lowlands, and pines and birches in the Highlands, with great stretches of marshland and smaller areas of moors. In the course of time, much forest land was cleared and almost all Lowlands outside the industrial areas were put under cultivation. Today only 6 per cent of the total land area remains wooded. The fauna of Britain is much like that of northwestern Europe, to which it was once joined.


III

Britain is a comparatively small country, but it has a great variety of scenery. In Scotland there are wild desolate mountains. It is the most northern of the British countries. Scotland occupies the area of 78, 8 thousand square km. with England lying to the south it is bounded on the northwest by the Atlantic Ocean, and on the east by the North Sea. The mainland of Scotland can be divided into such regions: the Highlands, the Central Lowlands and the Uplands. The mountains and the rocks of the Highlands stand out in defiance of frost, rain and wind as the highest mountains in the British Isles that had taken their present shape in the Great Ice Age. Their average height does not exceed 457 metres above sea level. The Southern Uplands seldom rise over 579 metres above sea level.

In England and Wales all the high land is in the west and northwest. The southeastern plain reaches the west coast only at one or two places – at the Bristol Channel and by the mouths of river Dee and Mersey.

In the north the Cheviot Hills (the Cheviots) separate England from Scotland. The Pennines stretch down North England almost along its middle like a backbone. To the west the Cambrian Mountains occupy the greater part of Wales.

The southeastern part of England is the low-lying land with gentle hills and a coast, which is regular in outline.

The position of the mountains naturally determined the direction and length of the rivers, and the longest rivers, except the Severn and Clyde, flow into the North Sea, and even the Severn flows eastward or southeast for the greater part of its length. In the estuaries of the Thames, Mersey, Tyne, Clyde, Tay, Bristol Avon are some of the greatest ports in Great Britain.

Almost all the area of Northern Ireland is a plain of volcanic origin deepening in the centre to form the largest lake of the British Isles, Lough Neagh. The landscape is hilly; the mountains are not very high and are mostly situated on the fringe of the plateau. The coastline of Northern Ireland is rugged with rocks and cliffs; it is indented by gulf and bays.

Great Britain is very much rich in mineral resources, it has some deposits of coal and iron ore and vast deposits of oil and gas that were discovered in the North Sea. Over three-quarters of Britain’s land are used for farming; farms produce nearly half of the food that Britain needs. The UK is a highly developed industrial country too, known as a producer and exporter of machinery, electronics, ships, aircraft and navigation equipment.

The population of the UK is over 58 million people. The main nationalities are: English, Welsh, Scottish, and Irish. English is the official language. But it is not the only language which people use in the UK. Some people speak Scottish in western Scotland, Welsh is spoken in parts of northern and central Wales, and Irish is in Northern Ireland.



Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1658


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