Geographical Position of United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is situated on the British Isles — a large group of islands lying off the north-western coast of Europe and separated from the continent by the English Channel and the Strait of Dover in the south and the North Sea in the east.
The British Isles consist of two large islands — Great Britain and Ireland — separated by the Irish Sea, and a lot of small islands, the main of which are the Isle of Wight in the English Channel, Anglesea and the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea, the Hebrides — a group of islands off the north-western coast of Scotland, and two groups of islands lying to the north of Scotland: the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands.
Historically the territory of the United Kingdom is divided into four parts: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The total area of the United Kingdom is 244 square kilometres.
Great Britain is situated in the temperate zone of Europe. The nature of Great Britain is greatly affected by the sea: there is no place situated more than 100-120 km from the seashore, in the northern parts only 40-60 km.
The territory of Great Britain can be divided into three natural regions:
1) Scotland with highland and upland relief and coniferous and mixed forests;
2) Wales and mountainous England with upland considerably cut by ravines and valleys and covered with meadows, moorland and cultivated farmland, with patches of broadleaf forest;
3) South-east England with plain landscape, fertile soils, the predominance of cultivated farmland, with patches of broadleaf forest.
The coastline of Great Britain is greatly indented, especially in the west and north-west where the mountains come close to the coast. The coasts of Scotland, as well as the coasts of the Hebrides, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland Islands, are cut by numerous fiords. In the south and east the land gradually slopes down towards the sea, and the coasts are sandy aid gentle, here and there interrupted by the ends of hiil-ranges, which form low cliffs.
Great Britain enjoys the humid and mild marine West-Coast climate with warm winters and cool summers and a lot of rainfall throughout the year.
The prevailing winds blow from the south-west. As these winds blow from the ocean, they are mild in winter and cool in summer, and are heavily charged with moisture at all times. As they approach the mountainous areas near the west coasts, they rise up the mountain slopes. Their temperature drops, which causes condensation of moisture in the form of rain. Therefore the wettest parts of Britain are those areas where high mountains lie near the west coast: the western Highlands of Scotland, the Lake District and North Wales. The eastern part of Britain is said to be in the rain-shadow, as the winds lose most of their moisture in their passage over the highlands of the west.
All parts of the British Isles receive rain at any time of the year. Still autumn and winter are the wettest seasons, except in the Thames District, where most rain falls in the summer half of the year. Oxford, for example, has 29 per cent of its rain in summer and only 22 per cent in winter.
As to temperature, Great Britain has warmer winters than any other district in the same latitude. It is due in large measure to the prevalence of mild southwest winds. Another factor is the Gulf Stream1, which flows from the Gulf of Mexico and brings much warmth from the equatorial regions to north-western Europe.
The United Kingdom was the first country in the world which became highly industrialized. During the rapid industrialization of the 19th century, one of the most important factors was that coal deposits were situated near the ground surface, which made mining easy. Coal mining is one of the most developed industries in Great Britain. The biggest coal and iron mines are in the north-east of England, near Newcastle, in Lancashire and Yorkshire; in Scotland near Glasgow; in Wales near Cardiff and Bristol.
Until recent times, Britain's heavy industry was mainly concentrated in the centre of England and in the London region. Such towns as Birmingham, Coventry and Sheffield produced heavy machines, railway carriages and motor-cars. In the 20th century new branches of industry have appeared: electronics, radio, chemical industry and others.
Of great importance for Britain is ship-building industry. It is concentrated in London, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool and Belfast.
Great Britain produces a lot of wool, and woollen industry is developed in Yorkshire. British woollen products are exported to many countries.
Sea-ports play a great role in the life of the country. London, Liverpool and Glasgow are the biggest English ports, from which big liners go to all parts of the world. Great Britain exports industrial products to other countries and imports food and some other products. Sheep-farming, cattle-farming and dairy-farming are also important branches of Great Britain's economy. Chicken farms produce a great number of chickens and eggs for the population.
The south of England is often called the "Garden of England", because there are many gardens and orchards there. In the orchards people grow apples, pears, cherries, plums and other fruits, and there are also large plantations of different berries.
COMPOSITION OF THE COUNTRY
The territory of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is historically divided into
1) England; 2) Scotland; 3) Wales; 4) Northern Ireland.
Of the four countries which make, up the United Kingdom, England is the largest. It occupies an area of 131,8 thousand sq. km.
England borders on Scotland in the north.. In the east it is washed by the North Sea. In the south it is separated from the continent by the English Channel. In the west it borders on Wales and is washed by the Bristol Channel and by the Irish Sea.
The highest part of England is in the west, from where the land gradually slopes down to the east.
The Atlantic Ocean washes the rocky and broken west coast of England, Wales and Scotland and is gradually wearing it away, leaving caves and sandy beaches. On the east coast the land is low and sandy.
The rivers flowing to the east and emptying into the North Sea form deep estuaries well protected from the sea. The greatest port of the country London is conveniently situated in the Thames estuary.
The white chalk cliffs of the south coast washed by the English Channel can be seen from many mil Л out at sea.
As concerns the relief, England can be divided into Northern England mostly taken up by the low Pen nine Mountains, the Central Plain, lowland South east England, and hilly South-west England.
Scotland is the most northern of the countries that constitute the United Kingdom. It occupies an are! of 78,8 thousand sq. km.
Scotland is washed by the Atlantic Ocean in the north and west and by the North Sea in the east.
The coastline of Scotland is greatly indented. Ь many places deep fiords penetrate very far inland. I Geographically the territory of Scotland can b<| divided into three regions: the Northern Highlands! the Central Lowlands and the Southern Uplands.
The Highlands are the highest mountains in the British Isles. Their average height does not exceed 157 m above sea level, though some peaks are much hitfber, rising over a thousand metres. Ben Nevis, the .highest peak in the British Isles, reaches the height
of 1343 m.
The Lowlands are the cradle of the Scottish nation. They are densely populated.
The Southern Uplands seldom rise over 579 m above sea level. It is one of the most sparsely populated districts in Great Britain.
Wales is a peninsula washed by the sea on three sides: the Bristol Channel in the south, the St. George's Channel in the west, and the Irish Sea in the north. Its territory is 20,8 thousand sq. km.
Geographically Wales may be considered part of highland Britain, the Cumbrian Mountains occupying most of the land. It is an area of high mountains, deep valleys, waterfalls and lakes.
Wales is a region of heavy rainfall brought by the prevailing west winds from the Atlantic Ocean. The valleys are sheltered by the high mountains from cold east winds. The climate is rather mild. Wales has never been densely populated. The Welsh have kept their own language, but English is spoken in town as well.
Northern Ireland occupies the north-eastern part of Ireland, which is separated from the island of Great! Britain by the North Channel. In the south-west Northern Ireland borders on the Irish Republic) (Eire).
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 greatly indented coastline of Northern Ireland is abundant in rocks and cliffs.
Northern Ireland has a typical oceanic climate with mild damp winters (the mean temperature in January is +4, +5) and cool rainy summers (the mean temperature in July is +14, +15).
Forests are rather scarce, moors and meadows prevail.
Northern Ireland is mostly an agrarian district. On small farms they grow crops, especially oats, vegetables and potatoes. Large areas are taken up by meadows, where cattle graze. On the river banks and n the coasts the population is engaged in fishing.
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