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The UK physical geography

The physical geography of the UK varies greatly.

The geography of England consists of lowland terrain, with mountainous terrain north-west of the Tees – Exe line including the Cumbrian Mountains of the Lake District (with the highest peak in England – Scaffel Pike, 977 m), the Pennines and limestone hills of the Peak District, Exmoor and Dartmoor. London, on the River Thames, is the capital of England and the United Kingdom as well. Other important cities in England are Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Southampton, Plymouth, Bristol, Nottingham and Sheffield amongst many others. Major rivers are the Severn (the longest river in England and in the UK, 354 km), Thames (346 km), Ouse, Trent, Tyne and Mersey. The largest lake in England is Lake Windermere in the Lake District.

The geography of Scotland consists of uplands in the south and the north, called Southern Uplands and Northwest Highlands, separated by Central Lowlands. The highest mountain range is the Grampian Mountains with Ben Nevis at 1343 meters above sea level, being the highest peak of Scotland and the British Isles. There are also numerous bodies of freshwater especially in the Northwest Highlands and the Grampian Mountains including Loch Lomond (the largest lake in Scotland) and Loch Ness. The longest river in Scotland is the River Tay (188 km). Edinburgh is the capital and second largest city. The largest city is Glasgow, other urban areas include Aberdeen, Dundee, Inverness, Ayr and Fort William. North of the mainland lie large groups of islands – the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands, to the west of the coast of Scotland Inner and Outer Hebrides are situated.

The geography of Wales is mostly mountainous, particularly in three main regions: Snowdonia in the north west, the Cambrian Mountains in mid Wales, and the Brecon Beacons in the south. Snowdon at 1085 m is the highest elevation in Wales. Cardiff, on the Bristol Channel, is the capital of Wales. Other important cities in Wales are Swansea, Cardigan, Welshpool, Barmouth, Newport, Bangor, Flint and Wrexham. The longest river in Wales is the River Tywi (103 km). Lake Bala (Llyn Tegid) is the largest natural lake in Wales.

The geography of Northern Ireland includes the Sperrin Mountains with extensive gold deposits, basalt Antrim Plateau and the Mourne Mountains with its highest peak – Slieve Donard (852 m) – as well as Lough Neagh (388 km2) – the largest lake in Northern Ireland and the largest body of water in the UK. The longest river in Northern Ireland is the River Bann (122 km). Belfast is the capital of Northern Ireland. There are five settlements with city status: Belfast, Londonderry, Newry, Armagh and Lisburn.

Islands. In total, it is estimated that the UK is made up of over 1000 small islands, some being natural and some being man-made crannogs, which were built in past times using stone and wood and which were enlarged by natural waste building up over time.

Islands of England: Lundy, Isles of Scilly, Isle f Wight;

Islands of Scotland: Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Inner Hebrides, Outer Hebrides;

Islands of Wales: Anglesey, Skomer Island, Skokholm Island, Ramsey Island;

Islands of Northern Ireland: Rathlin Island


4.1. The UK climate

The UK’s climate varies greatly according to season and location but on the whole can be described as temperate, though significantly warmer than some other locations at similar latitude due to the warming of the waters of the Gulf Stream.

The prevailing winds are southwesterly, from the North Atlantic Current. More than 50% of the days are overcast. There are few natural hazards, although there can be strong winds and floods, especially in winter.

Average annual rainfall varies from over 3,000 mm in the Scottish Highlands down to 553 mm in Cambridge. The driest period in the UK is late winter/spring, the wettest periods are autumn and winter. The county of Essex is one of the driest in the UK, the Lake District is the wettest region.

July and August are normally the warmest month in throughout the UK. Around the coasts, February is normally the coldest month; but inland January and February as the coldest months. The highest temperature recorded in the UK was 38.5° C at Brogdale, near Faversham, in the county of Kent, on 10 August 2003. The lowest was -27.2° C recorded at Braemar in the Grampian Mountains, Scotland, on 11 February 1895 and 10 January 1982 and Altnaharra, also in Scotland, on 30 December 1995.


Date: 2015-01-02; view: 1904

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