A mountain is a large landform that rises above the surrounding land in a limited area in the form of a peak. A mountain is steeper than a hill. Mountains are formed through tectonic forces or volcanism; these forces can locally raise the surface of the earth. Mountains erode through the action of rivers, weather conditions, glaciers. A few mountains are isolated summits. High elevations on mountains produce colder climates than at sea level; these colder climates affect the ecosystems of mountains: different elevations have different plants and animals. Because of the less hospitable terrain and climate, mountains tend to be used less for agriculture and more for resource extraction and recreation, such as mountain climbing; the highest mountain on Earth is Mount Everest in the Himalayas of Asia, whose summit is 8,850 m above mean sea level. The highest known mountain on any planet in the Solar System is Olympus Mons on Mars at 21,171 m. There is no universally accepted definition of a mountain.
Elevation, relief, steepness and continuity have been used as criteria for defining a mountain. In the Oxford English Dictionary a mountain is defined as "a natural elevation of the earth surface rising more or less abruptly from the surrounding level and attaining an altitude which to the adjacent elevation, is impressive or notable."Whether a landform is called a mountain may depend on local usage. Mount Scott outside Lawton, Oklahoma, USA, is only 251 m from its base to its highest point. Whittow's Dictionary of Physical Geography states "Some authorities regard eminences above 600 metres as mountains, those below being referred to as hills." In the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland, a mountain is defined as any summit at least 2,000 feet high, whilst the official UK government's definition of a mountain, for the purposes of access, is a summit of 600 metres or higher. In addition, some definitions include a topographical prominence requirement 100 or 500 feet. At one time the U.
S. Board on Geographic Names defined a mountain as being 1,000 feet or taller, but has abandoned the definition since the 1970s. Any similar landform lower. However, the United States Geological Survey concludes that these terms do not have technical definitions in the US; the UN Environmental Programme's definition of "mountainous environment" includes any of the following: Elevation of at least 2,500 m. Using these definitions, mountains cover 33% of Eurasia, 19% of South America, 24% of North America, 14% of Africa; as a whole, 24% of the Earth's land mass is mountainous. There are three main types of mountains: volcanic and block. All three types are formed from plate tectonics: when portions of the Earth's crust move and dive. Compressional forces, isostatic uplift and intrusion of igneous matter forces surface rock upward, creating a landform higher than the surrounding features; the height of the feature makes it either a hill or, if steeper, a mountain. Major mountains tend to occur in long linear arcs, indicating tectonic plate boundaries and activity.
Volcanoes are formed when a plate is pushed at a mid-ocean ridge or hotspot. At a depth of around 100 km, melting occurs in rock above the slab, forms magma that reaches the surface; when the magma reaches the surface, it builds a volcanic mountain, such as a shield volcano or a stratovolcano. Examples of volcanoes include Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines; the magma does not have to reach the surface in order to create a mountain: magma that solidifies below ground can still form dome mountains, such as Navajo Mountain in the US. Fold mountains occur when two plates collide: shortening occurs along thrust faults and the crust is overthickened. Since the less dense continental crust "floats" on the denser mantle rocks beneath, the weight of any crustal material forced upward to form hills, plateaus or mountains must be balanced by the buoyancy force of a much greater volume forced downward into the mantle, thus the continental crust is much thicker under mountains, compared to lower lying areas.
Rock can fold either asymmetrically. The upfolds are anticlines and the downfolds are synclines: in asymmetric folding there may be recumbent and overturned folds; the Balkan Mountains and the Jura Mountains are examples of fold mountains. Block mountains are caused by faults in the crust: a plane; when rocks on one side of a fault rise relative to the other, it can form a mountain. The uplifted blocks are block horsts; the intervening dropped blocks are termed graben: these can be small or form extensive rift valley systems. This form of landscape can be seen in East Africa, the Vosges, the Basin and Range Province of Western North America and the Rhine valley; these areas occur when the regional stress is extensional and the crust is thinned. During and following uplift, mountains are subjected to the agents of erosion which wear the uplifted area down. Erosion causes the surface of mountains to be younger than the rocks that form the mountains themselves. Glacial processes produce characteristic landforms, such as pyramidal peaks, knife-edge arêtes, bowl-shaped cirques that can contai
The Cuillin is a range of rocky mountains located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The main Cuillin ridge is known as the Black Cuillin to distinguish it from the Red Cuillin, which lie to the east of Glen Sligachan; the peaks of the Black Cuillin are composed of gabbro, a rough igneous rock which provides a superb grip for mountaineers. The rocks forming the ridge of the Black Cuillin are dark in colour in the shade, but when in sunlight the Black Cuillin can appear grey to brown in colour; the main ridge forms a narrow crest, with scree slopes. The ridge is about 14 km long, curves in an irregular semi-circle around Loch Coruisk, which lies at the heart of the range; the highest point of the Cuillin, of the Isle of Skye, is Sgùrr Alasdair in the Black Cuillin at 992 m. The Red Cuillin are composed of granite, paler than the gabbro and has weathered into more rounded hills with vegetation cover to summit level and long scree slopes on their flanks; these hills are lower and, being less rocky, have fewer climbs.
The highest point of the red hills is one of only two Corbetts on Skye. The scenic beauty of the Cuillin has led to it being designated a national scenic area, one of 40 such areas in Scotland. A Scottish Natural Heritage review of the special qualities of the national scenic area stated: The mountains rise up from the sea creating formidable, enclosed sea lochs, with the absence of foothills enhancing their vast scale. Many iconic views of Scotland are centred here, whether Sgurr nan Gillean soaring above Sligachan, Loch Scavaig and the Cuillin ridge from Elgol, or Bla Bheinn above Torrin. There are a number of theories about the derivation of the name Cuillin, it is suggested that it comes from the Old Norse word kjölen meaning ridges. This derivation gave rise to debate as to whether the hills should be referred to collectively as the Cuillin, rather than Cuillins. Kjöllen may refer to the keel of a boat, suggesting a similarity with an upturned Viking longship. Gaelic derivations of the name suggest a link to Celtic mythology, with the hills being the place where Cuchullin learnt archery from the female warrior Scáthach.
It is suggested that the derivation of the name may reflect the "worthless" nature of the hills, given their lack of vegetation. The Cuillin are a diverse and complex geological landscape, there is a clear distinction visible between the two mountain types; the mountains formed from the remains of the magma chambers. In the Black Cuillin the rocks cooled to form gabbro, the coarse-grained rock that makes up much of the range. Cracks and fissures in the rock provided pathways for magma intrusions, leading to dykes of basalt which are seen across Skye; the Red Cuillin have volcanic origins, being formed from a intrusion of acidic, granitic rock. This granite was more uniformly eroded by wind and water than the gabbro and basalt, causing the red hills to have smoother outlines; the Cuillin provide classic examples of glacial topography and were the subject of an early published account by James Forbes in 1846. He partnered Louis Agassiz on his trip to Scotland in 1840 and although they subsequently argued, Forbes went on to publish other important papers on Alpine glaciers.
In 1904 Alfred Harker published The Tertiary Igneous Rocks of Skye, the first detailed scientific study of an extinct volcano. The Cuillin encompasses a wide range of habitats. At the base there are conifer plantations, coastal woodlands and areas of heather moorland and rough grassland; the lower slopes are covered by various different types of bog, with grassland on the better-drained slopes that are found above 400 m. Higher up, the rocky hills are bare, with exposed rock and scree; the entire area is designated as a Special Protection Area under the Natura 2000 programme due for its importance to golden eagles. The site is of European importance for these birds, holds one of the highest-density populations in Britain, having an unusually high breeding productivity. 911 pairs were estimated in 1992, this representing at least 2.8 % of the breeding population in Great Britain at that time. The Cuillin are protected as a national scenic area, defined so as to identify areas of exceptional scenery and to ensure its protection from inappropriate development.
The areas protected by the designation are considered to represent the type of scenic beauty "popularly associated with Scotland and for which it is renowned". The Cuillin Hills National Scenic Area covers 22,726 ha, of which 27,320 ha is on land, with a further 4594 ha being marine. Due to the rocky nature of the Cuillin they have been of little use for agriculture: this contrasts with the majority of the highlands, where the hills were used to provide seasonal grazing for cattle and sheep. Despite the lack of earlier human presence in the hills themselves, there is much evidence of historic settlement in the surrounding glens, with prehistoric hut circles found in Glenbrittle, a stone circle identified in Glen Sligachan. Rubha an Dùnain, an uninhabited peninsula to the south of the main ridge, has a variety of archaeological sit
Skye, or the Isle of Skye, is the largest and northernmost of the major islands in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. The island's peninsulas radiate from a mountainous centre dominated by the Cuillin, the rocky slopes of which provide some of the most dramatic mountain scenery in the country. Although it has been suggested that the Gaelic Sgitheanach describes a winged shape there is no definitive agreement as to the name's origins; the island has been occupied since the Mesolithic period, its history includes a time of Norse rule and a long period of domination by Clan MacLeod and Clan Donald. The 18th century Jacobite risings led to the breaking up of the clan system and subsequent Clearances that replaced entire communities with sheep farms, some of which involved forced emigrations to distant lands. Resident numbers declined from over 20,000 in the early 19th century to just under 9,000 by the closing decade of the 20th century. Skye's population increased by 4 per cent between 1991 and 2001.
About a third of the residents were Gaelic speakers in 2001, although their numbers are in decline, this aspect of island culture remains important. The main industries are tourism, agriculture and forestry. Skye is part of the Highland Council local government area; the island's largest settlement is Portree, its capital, known for its picturesque harbour. There are links to various nearby islands by ferry and, since 1995, to the mainland by a road bridge; the climate is mild and windy. The abundant wildlife includes red deer and Atlantic salmon; the local flora are dominated by heather moor, there are nationally important invertebrate populations on the surrounding sea bed. Skye has provided the locations for various novels and feature films and is celebrated in poetry and song; the first written references to the island are Roman sources such as the Ravenna Cosmography, which refers to Scitis and Scetis, which can be found on a map by Ptolemy. One possible derivation comes from skitis, an early Celtic word for winged, which may describe how the island's peninsulas radiate out from a mountainous centre.
Subsequent Gaelic-, Norse- and English-speaking peoples have influenced the history of Skye. Various etymologies have been proposed, such as the "winged isle" or "the notched isle" but no definitive solution has been found to date. In the Norse sagas Skye is called Skíð, for example in the Hákonar saga Hákonarsonar and a skaldic poem in the Heimskringla from c. 1230 contains a line that translates as "the hunger battle-birds were filled in Skye with blood of foemen killed". The island was referred to by the Norse as Skuy, Skýey or Skuyö; the traditional Gaelic name is An t-Eilean Sgitheanach, An t-Eilean Sgiathanach being a more recent and less common spelling. In 1549 Donald Munro, High Dean of the Isles, wrote of "Sky": "This Ile is callit Ellan Skiannach in Irish, to say in Inglish the wyngit Ile, be reason it has mony wyngis and pointis lyand furth fra it, throw the dividing of thir foirsaid Lochis." But the meaning of this Gaelic name is unclear. Eilean a' Cheò, which means island of the mist, is a poetic Gaelic name for the island.
At 1,656 square kilometres, Skye is the second-largest island in Scotland after Harris. The coastline of Skye is a series of peninsulas and bays radiating out from a centre dominated by the Cuillin hills. Malcolm Slesser suggested that its shape "sticks out of the west coast of northern Scotland like a lobster's claw ready to snap at the fish bone of Harris and Lewis" and W. H. Murray, commenting on its irregular coastline, stated that "Skye is sixty miles long, but what might be its breadth is beyond the ingenuity of man to state". Martin Martin, a native of the island, reported on it at length in a 1703 publication, his geological observations included a note that: There are marcasites black and white, resembling silver ore, near the village Sartle: there are in the same place several stones, which in bigness, shape, &c. resemble nutmegs, many rivulets here afford variegated stones of all colours. The Applesglen near Loch-Fallart has agate growing in it of different colours. Stones of a purple colour flow down the rivulets here after great rains.
The Black Cuillin, which are composed of basalt and gabbro, include twelve Munros and provide some of the most dramatic and challenging mountain terrain in Scotland. The ascent of Sgùrr a' Ghreadaidh is one of the longest rock climbs in Britain and the Inaccessible Pinnacle is the only peak in Scotland that requires technical climbing skills to reach the summit; these hills make demands of the hill walker that exceed any others found in Scotland and a full traverse of the Cuillin ridge may take 15–20 hours. The Red Hills to the south are known as the Red Cuillin, they are composed of granite that has weathered into more rounded hills with many long scree slopes on their flanks. The highest point of these hills is one of only two Corbetts on Skye; the northern peninsula of Trotternish is underlain by basalt, which provides rich soils and a variety of unusual rock features. The Kilt Rock is named after the tartan-like patterns in the 105 metres cliffs; the Quiraing is a spectacular series of rock pinnacles on the eastern side of th
Sgùrr na Banachdaich
Sgùrr na Banachdaich is one of the main summits on the Black Cuillin ridge. Like the rest of the range it is composed of a rock with excellent grip for mountaineering; this is one of the easiest of the main Black Cuillin peaks to ascend. The simplest route ascends via Coire nan Eich from Glen Brittle. Hands are unlikely to be required until the summit is reached, though there is much steep ground and scree. Other routes require more scrambling ability, including the excellent ridge running out to Sgùrr nan Gobhar, straightforward but best used for descent. In both directions, the main Cuillin ridge requires moderate scrambling.
In modern mapping, a topographic map is a type of map characterized by large-scale detail and quantitative representation of relief using contour lines, but using a variety of methods. Traditional definitions require a topographic map to show both man-made features. A topographic survey is published as a map series, made up of two or more map sheets that combine to form the whole map. A contour line is a line connecting places of equal elevation. Natural Resources Canada provides this description of topographic maps:These maps depict in detail ground relief, forest cover, administrative areas, populated areas, transportation routes and facilities, other man-made features. Other authors define topographic maps by contrasting them with another type of map. However, in the vernacular and day to day world, the representation of relief is popularly held to define the genre, such that small-scale maps showing relief are called "topographic"; the study or discipline of topography is a much broader field of study, which takes into account all natural and man-made features of terrain.
Topographic maps are based on topographical surveys. Performed at large scales, these surveys are called topographical in the old sense of topography, showing a variety of elevations and landforms; this is in contrast to older cadastral surveys, which show property and governmental boundaries. The first multi-sheet topographic map series of an entire country, the Carte géométrique de la France, was completed in 1789; the Great Trigonometric Survey of India, started by the East India Company in 1802 taken over by the British Raj after 1857 was notable as a successful effort on a larger scale and for determining heights of Himalayan peaks from viewpoints over one hundred miles distant. Topographic surveys were prepared by the military to assist in planning for battle and for defensive emplacements; as such, elevation information was of vital importance. As they evolved, topographic map series became a national resource in modern nations in planning infrastructure and resource exploitation. In the United States, the national map-making function, shared by both the Army Corps of Engineers and the Department of the Interior migrated to the newly created United States Geological Survey in 1879, where it has remained since.1913 saw the beginning of the International Map of the World initiative, which set out to map all of Earth's significant land areas at a scale of 1:1 million, on about one thousand sheets, each covering four degrees latitude by six or more degrees longitude.
Excluding borders, each sheet was up to 66 cm wide. Although the project foundered, it left an indexing system that remains in use. By the 1980s, centralized printing of standardized topographic maps began to be superseded by databases of coordinates that could be used on computers by moderately skilled end users to view or print maps with arbitrary contents and scale. For example, the Federal government of the United States' TIGER initiative compiled interlinked databases of federal and local political borders and census enumeration areas, of roadways and water features with support for locating street addresses within street segments. TIGER was used in the 1990 and subsequent decennial censuses. Digital elevation models were compiled from topographic maps and stereographic interpretation of aerial photographs and from satellite photography and radar data. Since all these were government projects funded with taxes and not classified for national security reasons, the datasets were in the public domain and usable without fees or licensing.
TIGER and DEM datasets facilitated Geographic information systems and made the Global Positioning System much more useful by providing context around locations given by the technology as coordinates. Initial applications were professionalized forms such as innovative surveying instruments and agency-level GIS systems tended by experts. By the mid-1990s user-friendly resources such as online mapping in two and three dimensions, integration of GPS with mobile phones and automotive navigation systems appeared; as of 2011, the future of standardized, centrally printed topographical maps is left somewhat in doubt. Topographic maps have multiple uses in the present day: any type of geographic planning or large-scale architecture; the various features shown on the map are represented by conventional symbols. For example, colors can be used to indicate a classification of roads; these signs are explained in the margin of the map, or on a separately published characteristic sheet. Topographic maps are commonly called contour maps or topo maps.
In the United States, where the primary national series is organized by a strict 7.5-minute grid, they are called topo quads or quadrangles. Topographic maps conventionally show land contours, by means of contour lines. Contour lines are curves. In other words, every point on the marked line of 100 m elevation is 100 m above mean sea level; these maps show
Sgùrr a' Ghreadaidh
Sgùrr a' Ghreadaidh is the highest summit on the northern half of the Black Cuillin ridge in Scotland. Like the rest of the range it is composed of gabbro, a rock that provides good grip for mountaineering; this is one of the harder main Black Cuillin peaks to ascend. The simplest route ascends via the col of An Dorus, most reached from Glen Brittle; the south ridge leading towards Sgùrr Thormaid is Grade 3, with few opportunities to descend safely for some considerable distance. The mountain has two summits, separated by a knife-edged arete. At the time of the first ascent, John MacKenzie was aged just 14, he had earlier repeated the ascent of Sgùrr nan Gillean aged 10. Mackenzie became the first British mountain guide and the most prolific of the pioneers of mountaineering in the Cuillin
Scottish Gaelic or Scots Gaelic, sometimes referred to as Gaelic, is a Celtic language native to the Gaels of Scotland. A member of the Goidelic branch of the Celtic languages, Scottish Gaelic, like Modern Irish and Manx, developed out of Middle Irish. Most of modern Scotland was once Gaelic-speaking, as evidenced by Gaelic-language placenames. In the 2011 census of Scotland, 57,375 people reported as able to speak Gaelic, 1,275 fewer than in 2001; the highest percentages of Gaelic speakers were in the Outer Hebrides. There are revival efforts, the number of speakers of the language under age 20 did not decrease between the 2001 and 2011 censuses. Outside Scotland, Canadian Gaelic is spoken in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. Scottish Gaelic is not an official language of either the United Kingdom. However, it is classed as an indigenous language under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, which the British government has ratified, the Gaelic Language Act 2005 established a language development body, Bòrd na Gàidhlig.
Aside from "Scottish Gaelic", the language may be referred to as "Gaelic", pronounced or in English. "Gaelic" may refer to the Irish language. Scottish Gaelic is distinct from Scots, the Middle English-derived language varieties which had come to be spoken in most of the Lowlands of Scotland by the early modern era. Prior to the 15th century, these dialects were known as Inglis by its own speakers, with Gaelic being called Scottis. From the late 15th century, however, it became common for such speakers to refer to Scottish Gaelic as Erse and the Lowland vernacular as Scottis. Today, Scottish Gaelic is recognised as a separate language from Irish, so the word Erse in reference to Scottish Gaelic is no longer used. Gaelic was believed to have been brought to Scotland, in the 4th–5th centuries CE, by settlers from Ireland who founded the Gaelic kingdom of Dál Riata on Scotland's west coast in present-day Argyll.:551:66 However, archaeologist Dr Ewan Campbell has argued that there is no archaeological or placename evidence of a migration or takeover.
This view of the medieval accounts is shared by other historians. Regardless of how it came to be spoken in the region, Gaelic in Scotland was confined to Dál Riata until the eighth century, when it began expanding into Pictish areas north of the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde. By 900, Pictish appears to have become extinct replaced by Gaelic.:238–244 An exception might be made for the Northern Isles, where Pictish was more supplanted by Norse rather than by Gaelic. During the reign of Caustantín mac Áeda, outsiders began to refer to the region as the kingdom of Alba rather than as the kingdom of the Picts. However, though the Pictish language did not disappear a process of Gaelicisation was under way during the reigns of Caustantín and his successors. By a certain point during the 11th century, all the inhabitants of Alba had become Gaelicised Scots, Pictish identity was forgotten. In 1018, after the conquest of the Lothians by the Kingdom of Scotland, Gaelic reached its social, cultural and geographic zenith.:16–18 Colloquial speech in Scotland had been developing independently of that in Ireland since the eighth century.
For the first time, the entire region of modern-day Scotland was called Scotia in Latin, Gaelic was the lingua Scotica.:276:554 In southern Scotland, Gaelic was strong in Galloway, adjoining areas to the north and west, West Lothian, parts of western Midlothian. It was spoken to a lesser degree in north Ayrshire, the Clyde Valley and eastern Dumfriesshire. In south-eastern Scotland, there is no evidence that Gaelic was widely spoken. Many historians mark the reign of King Malcom Canmore as the beginning of Gaelic's eclipse in Scotland, his wife Margaret of Wessex spoke no Gaelic, gave her children Anglo-Saxon rather than Gaelic names, brought many English bishops and monastics to Scotland.:19 When Malcolm and Margaret died in 1093, the Gaelic aristocracy rejected their anglicised sons and instead backed Malcolm's brother Donald Bàn. Donald had spent 17 years in Gaelic Ireland and his power base was in the Gaelic west of Scotland, he was the last Scottish monarch to be buried on Iona, the traditional burial place of the Gaelic Kings of Dàl Riada and the Kingdom of Alba.
However, during the reigns of Malcolm Canmore's sons, Alexander I and David I, Anglo-Norman names and practices spread throughout Scotland south of the Forth–Clyde line and along the northeastern coastal plain as far north as Moray. Norman French displaced Gaelic at court; the establishment of royal burghs throughout the same area under David I, attracted large numbers of foreigners speaking Old English. This was the beginning of Gaelic's status as a predominantly rural language in Scotland.:19-23 Clan chiefs in the northern and western parts of Scotland continued to support Gaelic bards who remained a central feature of court life there. The semi-independent Lordship of the Isles in the Hebrides and western coastal mainland remained Gaelic since the language's recovery there in the 12th century, providing a political foundation for cultural prestige down to the end of the 15th century.:553-6By the mid-14th century what came to be called Scots emerged as the official language of government and law.:139 Scotland's emergent nat