Physically, Scotland is not a single entity: it is a land of many distinct and separate regions. If you look at a physical map of England, you can see that it belongs together. The lowlands to the south and east form a single area; and the higher regions, though they can be formidable, are, as it were, islands penetrated by lowland passages which lead a conqueror directly to all parts. From the Thames crossing which became London, there are direct routes to Yorkshire and up the east coast to Berwick; another opening leads to Liverpool and Chester, between the Pennines and the Welsh mountains, another to Cardiff and South Wales. Along these paths, Roman roads were built, Roman armies marched; and to this day, the roads and railways spread out from London, which was destined by geography to be the centre of a united country. Scotland is different. Geology splits the land into five areas: the Southern Uplands; a lowland belt between two faults, one running from Girvan in Ayrshire to Dunbar in East Lothian, the other from Dumbarton on the Clyde to Stonehaven, south of Aberdeen; the high and barren Highlands to north and west; the north-eastern coastal plains between the barrier of the Mounth, south of Aberdeen, and the limits of the plain of Caithness to the west of Thurso; and across the sea, the Hebrides, Orkney and Shetland.
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- The Identity of Place
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