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If we travel all over Scotland, we can see that geographically it consists of three main parts: Lowlands, Uplands and Highlands with their Grampian Mountains, where the tallest mountain peak, Ben Nevis (1,342 metres), is located. It is a vast territory of about 79,000 square kilometres, but the population of Scotland is only five million people. If we compare it with Moscow, it is just half of the population of our capital!

You are sure to enjoy the beauty of the Scottish varied landscape: the hills, covered with purple heather (if you manage to find the white one, then you are lucky), its beautiful lakes (here they are called lochs), its green and narrow valleys (or glens) ...

Other countries might have higher peaks, deeper lakes and broader valleys, but the unique Scottish combination of mountain, loch and glen continues to capture the hearts of all who come here.

The biggest and the most beautiful lake in Scotland is Loch Lomond, but the most famous one is Loch Ness with its mysterious monster Nessie. Nessie sometimes appears to scare the tourists but only in fine weather, which is a great rarity for Scotland!

But what can be more peculiar and attractive for tourists than a man in the kilt, playing the bagpipes? The Celts of Scotland made the chequered pattern of tartan the national dress of the country. The earliest Scots formed themselves into clans (family groups) and the tartan became a symbol of the sense of kinship. Sometimes there were fierce battles between different clans but nowadays the Macdonalds and the MacKenzies (Mac means "son of), the Campbells and the Camerons live in peace with each other. There are about 300 different clans in Scotland, and each has its own colour and pattern of tartan together with the motto.

Scotland is a land of many famous people: writers and poets, scientists and philosophers. Just imagine: you are reading about the far-away, rainy and foggy, mysterious and romantic Scotland and hear a telephone bell. You come up to the phone (by the way, invented by Alexander Graham Bell, born in Edinburgh) and answer it. This is your friend who wants you to keep him company and go for a walk, but it is raining outside.

No problem: you put on your raincoat (patented by chemist Charles Macintosh from Glasgow) and are ready to leave the house, but your mother asks you to send a letter to your favourite auntie. So you put an adhesive stamp on it, invented by John Chalmers, bookseller and printer of Dundee.

Be careful not to get pneumonia in such weather, or you will have to take injections of penicillin, discovered by Sir Alexander Fleming of Darvel, Scotland. Well, in the evening, after a walk, you are eager to sit in a comfortable armchair with a cup of hot coffee and read an adventurous novel by Sir Walter Scott from Edinburgh, or, maybe, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, or, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, born in Edinburgh, or, maybe, a book of poems by Robert Bums.

(from Speak Out, abridged)




Britain is a constitutional monarchy. This means that the head of state is the Queen. But in reality she has very little power. She has to put her signature on new laws, even if she doesn't like them. Every autumn she opens Parliament, but the speech she makes from the throne, is written by the Prime Minister.

" The Queen is a symbol of Britain's long history and tradition and her most important function is ceremonial.

She represents Britain when she meets other heads of state.

Once a week she has a meeting with the Prime Minister.

As head of the Commonwealth, she meets and entertains prime ministers of the member states.

Every year she speaks on TV on Christmas day.

She opens new hospitals, bridges and museums.

After disasters, she sends messages to the families of the victims.



Date: 2016-04-22; view: 870

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