Reshaping and Preservation of a Culture: The Romanization of Scotland

The Reshaping and Preservation of a Culture

The 18th and 19th century held many important historical shifts for Scotland. The Act of Union, Jacobite Rebellions of 1745 and 1746 and the Highland Clearances significantly shifted Scottish culture in both positive and negative ways. The Act of Union led to indirect suppression of Scottish culture and yet, Scottish writers found a way to push back and revitalize their culture through poetry and song. While the act of revivifying Scottish culture was important, it is not the most important aspect of these texts. Rather, the most important aspect is how the poetry revivified Scottish culture. Poets such as Robert Burns and Sir Walter Scott helped change the way that Scotland was portrayed both in the centuries they wrote their pieces in and for centuries to come. Based on how they wrote about Scotland in their texts, these proto-Romantic and Romantic writers shaped an image of the Scottish population that was in touch with nature and the Highlands but also told the story of the common people. In true Romantic fashion, Burns and Scott wrote from an individualistic and reflective perspective, writing of emotions in connection with the landscape and emphasizing Scottish history and social issues throughout their work. With this revival, these writers preserved stories and safeguarded the interests of the common man. Further, by their usage of Scots, they inspired a strong ‘Vernacular Revival’ that coincided with the overall revitalization and Romanization of Scottish culture through poetry and song. All of these outcomes were due to the writers’ literary choices such as writing in Scots, using classic forms like the Habbie Stanza or writing in English but still having the content full of Scottish themes. These effects stretch farther than just the 18th and 19th century however, as it also set up material for the modernist movement in the 20th century to occur with writers such as Hugh MacDiarmid whose goal was to rework this Romantic image of Scotland to one that was more fitting for the century. Today, the poems and songs written in the 18th and 19th century allow for readers to understand the plights of those who lived in that era by taking common and grand issues and portraying them in a way that the reader can understand. Further, one could argue that the Romantic influence of that period still effects how foreigners view Scotland and how writers portray Scotland today.

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 The Union of the Crowns took place in 1603 when James the VI of Scotland became James the I of England and inherited the throne from Queen Elizabeth I. With the Union of the Crowns, the court shifted down to London and adoption of Standard English became more commonplace over the usage of Scots and Gaelic.[1] Beginning in this era, Scottish poets wrote to show Scottish pride but, still kept the dialect in Standard English and wrote in classic forms such as the sonnet or ballad. Sir Robert Aytoun exemplified this with his poem written after the Union of the Crowns titled, ‘Sonnet: On the River Tweed’. While this poem takes the Shakespearean sonnet form, it uses the devotional nature of the form to direct love and longing towards a location while also discussing political and social shifts. Sir Aytoun uses the River Tweed, a border between England and Scotland, to discuss the union. He begins with quickly addressing this topic in the first stanza writing,

Fair famous flood, which some time did divide,

But now conjoins two diadems in one,

Suspend thy pace, and some more softly slide,

Since we have made thee mistress of our moan.[2] 

He then further discusses what he perceives as the death of Scotland as a nation with the lines,

And since none’s left but thy report alone, 

To tell the world our captain’s last farewell. (Scottish Verse, p.158)

The poem also shows a strong love and yearning for Scotland as well as what is lost with the Union of Crowns with lines such as,

And straightway send them, with his murm’ring sounds, 

To that religious place, whose stately walls, 

Do keep the heart, which all our hearts inthralls. (Scottish Verse, p.158)

Even with Ayoun’s work, it is not until the 18th century when the Act of Union occurs in 1707, making Scotland and England into the United Kingdom, that larger shifts away from Scottish culture occur and Scottish writers readily respond. This political and cultural shift created a larger need for the usage of Scots and the preservation of Scottish culture. By 1746, after the Jacobite’s had been defeated at the Battle of Culloden, England purposefully suppressed and targeted Highland culture. With the Act of Proscription, livestock were confiscated, Highland clothing was outlawed, property was destroyed, and Clan culture was effectively ended.[3] It is also during this time that the Highland Clearances made families move from their homes in the Highlands so that the lands could be used for sheep farming. With all of these changes, the Habbie Stanza and usage of Scots in poetry increased in an attempt to reclaim Scottish culture through art and to create a stronger Scottish identity in an era where British identity was becoming more commonplace.[4] While the Habbie Stanza was initially used for mock elegies, poets such as Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns used it to instill national pride. This Scottish pride and vernacular usage are portrayed in Fergusson’s ‘Caller Oysters’. Ferguson draws attention to the plentiful oysters found in Scotland thus showcases his own beliefs that Scotland is a plentiful nation with much to offer. He expresses his pride for Scotland as he writes,

O’ A ‘ the waters that can hobbleA fishing yole or sa’mon coble,An’ can reward the fisher’s trouble, Or south or north,There’s nane sae spacious an’ sae noble

As Firth o’ Forth.[5]

Similarly, Burns uses his poem ‘To a Haggis’ to portray pride for Scotland and its uniqueness. He writes,

Ye Pow’rs, wha mak mankind your care,And dish them out their bill o fare,Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware  That jaups in luggies;

But, if ye wish her gratefu prayer,

Gie her a Haggis.[6]

Burns notes the distinct nature of Haggis and simultaneously, the distinct nature of Scotland, praising Haggis over other food and likewise praising Scotland over other counties. Both poets have specific ways in which they speak of Scotland therefore, have very specific, nationalistic ways in which they resurrected Scottish culture.

Burns took the standard Habbie and Scots vernacular further than his predecessor Fergusson, using the pairing to comment on the individual in a proto-Romantic manner. British academic, Nigel Leask comments that, ‘Burns was a vital influence on the British Romantics…in championing the values of rural and peasant life’.[7] This is showcased throughout Burns’ work in how he presents the common speaker of the poem in a reflective manner that is expressive, setting up the scene for the true Romantic period that takes place later. Leask also commented on Burns’ impact writing that, ‘Burns breathed new life into the ‘broken and mutilated’ Scots vernacular tradition by engaging it with rural modernity and social change’.[8] This is clear in his poem, ‘To a Mouse:On Turning Her Up in Her Nest with the Plough, November, 1785.’ He shows the Scottish farmer’s connection to nature and most importantly, comments on the Highland Clearances and how they affected the families who had to leave their homes. Burns switches between Scots and English with expressive stanzas such as,

Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie, 

 O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!

 Thou need na start awa sae hasty, 

Wi’ bickerin brattle!

 I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee

 Wi’ murd’ring pattle![9]

Burns expresses his regret, exclaiming that this mouse need not be fearful of him but, when relating this event to the bigger social issue of disrupting what he calls a ‘social union’ in the second stanza, he writes in English to ensure that the themes get across.[10] This stanza reads,

I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion

 Has broken Nature’s social union, 

An’ justifies that ill opinion,

Which makes thee startle, 

At me, thy poor, earth-born companion, 

An’ fellow-mortal![11]

Burns conveys that in this ‘social union’ between the mouse and farmer, the farmer has overstepped his boundary. This is likely directed at the social union between Scotland and England with England being the farmer who has overstepped into Scotland’s land and life. Scottish culture could have been revived in any way during this period but, because of the individualistic approach, poets such as Burns ensured that the common man’s plight is not forgotten in the fast-paced history of giants.

Scottish poets in the 18th and 19th century reshaped an idea of Scotland that was nature based, Romantic and full of tropes that would continue past their lifetimes. This Romanization of the Highlands is portrayed through songs such as Burns’ ‘Farewell to the Highlands’ as it reads,

My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here, My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer; Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe, My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.[12]

He directly connects the landscape to the individual and to emotions, giving the Highlands an passionately charged and mystical portrayal. Sir Walter Scott has a similar effect with his song, ‘Bonny Dundee’ but this time it glorifies the failed Jacobite’s cause reading,

Come fill up my cup, come fill up my can, Saddle my horses and call out my men, And it’s Ho! for the west port and let us gae free, And we’ll follow the bonnets o’ bonnie Dundee![13]

Whether the words are accurate or exaggerated, the writers take on the important role of supporter and preserver. With Walter Scott, ‘his readers had (and often still have) demanding expectations of him not just as an interpreter of Scotland to an international public but also as a preserver of Scotland’s traditions and its historic artifacts’.[14] Scott, Burns and Fergusson’s work acts as a way for history, people, issues and emotions to be archived in the elegant form of songs and poetry. Additionally, without this Romantic portrayal, the modernists would have nothing to work against in the 20th century and thus expand further the way in which the Habbie Stanza and Scots could be used. Also, the way in which Scotland is depicted in books, movies and TV shows today would differ greatly because the idea that Scotland is magical, mystical and rugged is represented regularly only because of its deep roots in Scottish culture by poets such as Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns. Further, their work fills readers, Scottish and foreign alike, with love for Scotland which is invaluable.

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 The Romanization of Scotland that took place during the 18th and 19th century was crucial in setting up what was to change in the following centuries. This Romanization served many purposes such as popularizing the Highlands again, providing stories and tales that those who had moved from the Highlands during the Clearances could read, preserving the perspective and culture of the common man and the Scots vernacular and providing material for current writers to shape their own perspectives of Scotland. Often, it is not the act that is significant but rather, how the act was executed. In this case, the writers created content that would live on, inspire and preserve over anything else. They preserved the common man’s perspective which is vital in a time when Scotland’s history is being changed rapidly by the greater political powers that care very little about the common people in the rural areas. The choices made by these writers created grand impressions on the writers that came after them and the people that read their work. Because of this impact and their success at how they chose to Romantically portray Scotland, their work will remain crucial in defining the complete Scottish identity always.

Bibliography

Primary Texts:

The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse, ed. by Crawford, Robert, and Imlah, Mick,(London: Penguin Books, 2006).

Secondary Texts:

McClure, J. Derrick, ‘What’s Scots?’, Fortnight, no. 318 (1993), p.3-5, .

‘443. Bonny Dundee. Sir Walter Scott. 1909-14. English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald. The Harvard Classics’, [accessed 11 November 2018].

Mackillop, Andrew, ‘Jacobitism, Union & Empire 1688-c1788’, Introduction to Scottish Culture A HIST 1022, Class Lecture at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK, 31 October 2018.

Leask, Nigel, ‘Robert Burns’ in The Cambridge Companion to Scottish Literature, ed. by Carruthers, Gerard, and McIlvanney, Liam, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012), p.71-85.

Robertson, Fiona, ‘Walter Scott’, in The Edinburgh History of Scottish Literature: Enlightenment, Britain and Empire (1707-1918), ed. by Brown, Ian, (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2006), p.183-190.

Young, Ronnie, ‘Enlightenment and Romanticism’, Introduction to Scottish Culture A HIST 1022, Class Lecture at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK, 31 October 2018.

Young, Ronnie, ‘The Habbie Stanza’, Scottish Literature 1A SCOTLIT 1013, Class Lecture at the University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK, 4 October 2018.

Glacial Trimlines and Nunataks in Assynt Region of Scotland

Title
To what extent are glacial trimlines and nunataks present in the Assynt region of North West Scotland and how does this affect features above and below the boundary?
or
To what extent is a glacial trimline present in the Assynt region of North West Scotland and how does it affect features above and below the proposed boundary?
Abstract
The Assynt region of North West Scotland, north of the town of Ullapool, is located on The Moine Thrust belt, which stretches from Lock Eriboll on the north coast to the Isle of Skye, approximately 120 miles south. This marks the point where the old Moine schist rock, around 1,000Ma, thrust over younger rocks, creating an unconformity between the Moine schist and the Durness limestone, which was metamorphosed and altered below the thrust, from 500Ma. The area is rich in Quaternary geology, providing evidence of direct ice action and periglacial features not directly linked to ice flow. These Quaternary features are split by a theoretical thermal boundary called a glacial trimline, supposedly representing the highest vertical extent of the glacier, with periglacial features lying above the boundary and ice flow erosional features below. These features will be studied in order to provide evidence for the trimline, with the measurement of rock hardness around the area providing the best information.
Background Geology
The oldest rocks present, gneisses of the Lewisian complex, of Archaean age, have undergone three major periods of deformation, the first of these being the Badcallian event, where dominant foliation was produced, followed by the second period of deformation called the Inverian event. The Scourie dykes, a suite of dykes, intruded the Lewisian complex before being deformed during the third period of deformation, named the Laxfordian event, dated around 1.7Ga. The Lewisian complex can be divided into the Rhiconich, Assynt, Gruinard and Southern Terranes. The boundary between the Assynt and Gruinard terranes lies along the Canisp Shear Zone. Both hold different tectonic histories, but were combined by the Palaeoproterozoic, around 2.4Ga, evident from the intrusion of the Scourie Dykes. (Trewin, N.H, 2003)

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The Archaean Lewisian rocks are then unconformably overlain by the Torridon group of red sandstones and conglomerates, deposited in fluiviatile and lacustrine environments, dated approximately between 1.2Ga to 1Ga in the Proterzoic. These red sandstones were introduced by rivers and buried under old hills and mountains. The Torridon sandstones, tilted, eroded and overlaid the previous Stoer group around 1Ga. (http://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/~oesis/nws/nws-geolhist.html)
After a subsequent period of uplift and non-deposition, the region was transgressed and marine Cambrian quartz arenites unconfomormably overlaid the Torridon and Lewisian groups. These quartz arenites differ from the Torridon sandstones, particularly in their white colour and via the presence of vertical burrows from ichnogenera Skolithos and Monocraterion, highlighting the early Cambrian as the upper age bound. (K.M. Goodenough et al, 2009)
The Fucoid Member, a thin detailed unit of brown weathered siltstones, overlies the quartzites. (Trewin, N.H, 2003) This in turn is followed by the Salterella Grit member, a very thin layer of quartzites, which overlies the fucoid member, all of which are dated as early Cambrian in age. Comformably overlying the clastic unites is the Durness group of carbonates, the youngest sediments in the region, which range in age from early Cambrian to early Ordovician, around 542-475 Ma. (Trewin, N.H, 2003)
Abundant thrusting is present throughout the Assynt region from late Ordoivician to early Silurian times with widespread deformation having occurred. Four thurst sheets are present, the lowest of which, the Moine sheet, containing units allocated to the Moine Supergroup, settled upon the Lewisian complex, deposited around 900Ma. (Krabbendam, M. and Leslie, A. G, 2010) The sediments within the Moine supergroup are predominanty shallow marine arkosic sandstones. Major movement along the Moine thurst occurred around 440-430 Ma, recorded via Rb-Sr dating of mylonites, also showing the fine grained platy rock mylonite formation along the thrust. (Freeman, S,R et al, 1998)
Quaternary Geology of the area
Over the last 2 million years, the landscape of North West Scotland has been dramatically altered by climate change, believed to fit the ‘Milankovitch’ timescale. Fluctuations of temperature, from periods of warmth to periods of cold and ice have specifically transformed upland areas. The weight of the ice caused the country to be lowered, coupled with lower sea levels due to the capture of water in the ice, before abrupt climate change forced melting of the glaciers and ice sheets. This triggered the release of vast amounts of water, depositing sands and gravels offshore and in river valleys. (Lowe, J. J. and Walker, M. J. C, 1997) Alongside this, sea levels dramatically rose due to the massive increase in water, forming beaches above the sea level, left today as raised beaches. (http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/geology/scotland/ice.asp) The movement of the ice due to gravity under its own weight and its fluid nature caused destruction in its path. Due to its destructive nature, evidence is removed, making timing, extent and individual impacts difficult to record.
During the past 30,000 years, there have been three major periods of glaciation, with interglacial periods interspersed, where there was no ice during summer months except in some areas of high latitude and altitude. Shorter periods between glacials are termed interstadials, when warm temperatures present and stadials, where temperatures are relatively cool. Two of these glacial periods had a profound effect on the Assynt region. The first and oldest of these glacial periods, named the Late Glacial Maximum, is dated approximately between 29,000-22,000 years ago. An ice sheet of over 800m in thickness was present, leaving only a small number of nunataks visible. Nunataks are exposed peaks or ridges above the ice sheet, often rocky in nature.
The youngest glacial event is the Loch Lomond Stadial, around 13,000 to 11,000 years ago, named after the Loch itself, which formed as a result of glacial movement due to the removal of rocks, dug out by the ice. (http://www.scottishgeology.com/geo/regional-geology/midland-valley/south-end-of-loch-lomond). It left moraines, nunataks and outwash terraces in many valleys and some small moraines in corries, with the moraines helping to chart the ice margin retreat. The period was ended due to a rapid increase in climatic temperature, subsequently starting the Holocene.
Glacial features are present around the Assynt region which help to chart ice flow direction. These include striations, grooves, crescent gauges and friction cracks to name a few, each of these mostly on a small scale and therefore easily recordable. They are found most commonly on the Cambrian quartzite and the pipe rock; however, small numbers have been mapped on Torridon sandstone. Striations are formed by abrasion of loose rocks and pebbles at the base of a glacier, forming scratches in the rock, the direction of the scratch indicating the directional flow of the ice. At times however, they can be confusing due to different glaciers at later dates cross cutting the previously formed striations from a different direction. The striations have to be subsequently studied in detail to determine which period of ice movement came first. Gauges, in the form of crescent moon shapes, form when boulders within an ice sheet or glacier are pressed against the bedrock. These boulders rotate slightly as the ice sheet or glacier moves, dragging them simultaneously with the rotation, causing crescent shaped indents in the bedrock. Gauges are useful for determining flow direction, as the flow of ice often points in the same direction as the gauge. Gauges can often be easily confused with friction cracks if they have been altered by weathering; however, gauges are normally greater in size. Friction cracks are formed due to an increase in friction between the ice sheet and bedrock below it, with boulders and pebbles bouncing off the bedrock, meaning pressure is not continuous. In terms of ice flow direction, they point in the opposite way to the gauges.
Moraines, another feature of glacial movement, are accumulations of deposited till. Different moraines are formed in different areas passed by the glacier. Terminal moraines form at the terminus, or end of the furthest point reached by the ice, whereas lateral moraines form at each side of the glacier and medial moraines are formed at the intersection between two glaciers. The deposition of the till can happen in three different areas of the glacier, with subglacial at the bottom of the glacier, marginal deposition on the margins of the ice, and supraglacial sitting on the surface of the ice sheet. Fluvial action can subsequently rework the deposited till and moraines, mutating their characteristics and morphology. Till fabrics can also be studied in order to provide evidence of glaciation. Tills are deposited at different areas of the ice flow, with the position of these and the orientation of the clasts helping to map the direction of ice flow in the area.
Periglacial landforms are also present in the region, categorized as areas that form adjacent to glacial terrain or in areas of close similarity and that hypothetically form above the proposed trimline, where freeze thaw weathering often occurs. Patterned ground features are some of the most common structures found, including stripes, nets, circles, polygons and steps, each formed either by sorting or non-sorting of sediment. Nets and stripes are the two most common of these features found in the Assynt region. Nets are found between polygons and circles, with small scale earth hummocks with a core of mineral soil being a common unsorted net. Stripes form on steep slopes, with sorted stripes comprising of alternate stripes of fine and coarse material and are particularly prominent under conditions of permafrost. (Washburn, A.L, 1979) It is believed that both are formed by repeated freeze thaw weathering on sloped ground. Blockfields are one of these features, predominantly found on mountain plateaus in unglaciated areas, helping to provide evidence of the trimline. They form as a result of freeze thaw weathering, where rocks are shattered in situ and jointed, both vertically and horizontally. They are often made up of shattered quartzite. Solifluction is another feature of periglacial weathering, involving the mass wasting from freeze thaw cycles. Silty and sandy soils are common in solifluction, with the process forming lobes, terraces, stripes and hummocks.
Aim – Trimlines
The aim of the project is to discover the existence of a glacial trimline, which marks the highest point of the most recent glacier or ice sheet. However, it is apparent that in some areas, unmodified periglacial terrain survived glacial maxima under cold based ice and in these scenarios, the trimline represents a thermal boundary between cold based ice and warm based ice. (Elias, S.A, 2006). Other hypothesis include a timeline cut by glacial readvance during ice-sheet downwastage, or the trimline forming during initial ice-sheet downwastage under periglacial conditions. ((Goudie, A.S, 2003) The sharpness of this boundary relied upon the effectiveness and intensity of glacial erosion, the degree of frost weathering after its formation and the downslope mass movement during and after deglaciation. (Goudie, A.S, 2003) Schmidt hammer measurements, detailing hardness, the roughness of the rocks present around the proposed boundary and measurements of differential relief are amongst some of the ways in which these hypotheses have been tested. Studies in other areas, such as the Gap of Dunloe, Ireland, using these measuring techniques, have shown that periglacial trimlines mark the upper limit of a body of ice. (Rae, A.C, Harrison, S et al, 2004). Similar results are expected to be seen in the Assynt region.
What we need
For the project to be successful and for our research to be undertaken, a number of items will be necessary. Field maps will be vital in order to navigate to proposed sites, whilst also allowing outcrops and features to be marked. These maps will range in scale from large maps of the whole area, at a 1:10000 scale to small more precise maps for more detailed study and navigation. To study our hypothesis of glacial trimlines, Schmidt hammers will be needed in order to measure the hardness of the rocks, where the rocks should be softer above the boundary. A GPS system will also be necessary, equipped with an altitude reader, allowing site positioning to be recorded precisely, for revisits for further study. The size of certain facies and outcrops will need to be measured accurately, so a long tape measure will be needed. A compass clinometer will be necessary for measuring strike and dip of glacial features such as striations and to ascertain the direction that certain features face, allowing ice flow direction to be understood. A geological hammer would also be a useful addition to the study, allowing segments of rocks unaltered by moss and weather conditions to be studied. Coupled with this will be a hand lens and grainsize charts, allowing the rocks to be studied in precise detail. Due to the nature of our study, in regards to finding the thermal trimline boundary, a large number of mountain peaks will have to be scaled, so warm and weatherproof clothes will be needed according to weather conditions. The Schmidt hammer, GPS, compass clinometer and tape measure will be borrowed from the university geology department, where the maps needed will also be highlighted and printed.
Methodologies
To test the hypothesis of the existence of a glacial trimline, Schmidt hammer measurements will have to be taken around the peaks of mountains. The Schmidt hammer is a portable instrument, which measures the distance of rebound when pressed against the outcrop using a spring. This measures the hardness of the rocks, allowing a difference to be seen in the rocks above and below the boundary. The rocks above at or above the boundary should be softer as they have been affected by periglacial weathering. (Rae, A.C, Harrison, S et al, 2004) A number of readings, between 20 and 30, will be taken over a transect of an outcrop, allowing an average to be recorded. This method will be repeated at a number of different outcrops on a number of different mountain peaks, eventually showing the parameters of the trimline. The Schmidt hammer data will later be recorded in graphs and tables, noting where the hardness of the rocks changed dramatically.
Ice flow features will be present in large quantities below the trimline. These include striations, grooves, crescent gauges and friction cracks. A range of these measurements, approximately 20-30 will be taken of each feature over a number of outcrops in order to gain an average and to ascertain from the results an ice flow direction. These will be measured using rulers to ascertain the size of the feature, whilst a compass clinometer will be used to measure their strike and dip and the overall distance it faces. These features can be drawn onto rose diagrams, clearly and concisely showing the flow direction of the ice.
Till fabric analysis, in the form of a sedimentary sequence and log, will be performed in a systematic fashion, rather than being determined by natural geology and morphology like the methods highlighted above. This will be done over a chosen exposure, where it will be carefully logged by choosing clasts one by one on a transect across the exposure, measuring their dip direction and roundness, before noting their rock type. This will be repeated at a number of different heights, before converting the figures recorded during the day into a sedimentary sequence and stereonet diagrams.
References
Andrews, J.T. Techniques of Till Fabric Analysis. Technical Bulleting No. 6, British Geomorphological Research Group, pp 43, 1971
Ballantyne, C.K & Harris, C, The Periglaciation of Great Britain, Cambridge University press, 1995
Bradwell, T & Krabbendam, K, Lateral plucking as a mechanism for elongate erosional glacial bedforms: explaining megagrooves in Britain and Canada, British Geologic society, 2011
Elias, S.A, Encyclopedia of Quaternary Science, Elsevier Science Ltd, 2006
Fabel, D, Ballantyne, C.K & Xu, S, Trimlines, blockfields, mountain-top erratics and the vertical dimensions of the last British Ice sheet in NW Scotland, Quaternary Science reviews, Vol 55, pp 91-102, 2012
FREEMAN, S. R., BUTLER, R. W. H., CLIFF, R. A. and REX, D. C. ‘Direct dating of mylonite evolution: a multi-disciplinary geochronological study from the Moine Thrust Zone, NW Scotland’,Journal of the Geological Society, 155(5), pp. 745–758, (1998)
Goudie, A, The encyclopaedia of geomorphology, Routledge, 2003
Harris jr, S.E, Friction cracks and the direction of glacial movement, The Journal of Geology, vol 51, no. 4, 1943
Krabbendam, M. and Leslie, A. G. ‘Lateral variations and linkages in thrust geometry: the Traligill Transverse Zone, Assynt Culmination, Moine Thrust Belt, NW Scotland’,Geological Society, London, Special Publications, 335(1), pp. 335–357, 2010
K.M. Goodenough et al, Digital surface models and the landscape: Interaction between Bedrock and Glacial geology in the Ullapool area, British Geological Society, 2009
Lawson, T.J, Former ice movement in Assynt, Sutherland, as shown by the distribution of glacial erratics, Scottish Journal of Geology 26, 1990
 
Lawson, T.J, Glacial striae and former ice movement: the evidence from Assynt, Sutherland, Scottish Journal of Geology 32, 1996
Lowe, J. J. and Walker, M. J. C.Reconstructing Quaternary environments. 2nd edn. United Kingdom: Prentice-Hall, 1997
Mendum, J.R et al, Lewisian, Torridonian and Moine Rocks of Scotland, GCR Volume No. 34, 2009
McCarroll, D., Ballantyne, C. K., Nesie, A. & Dahl, S.-O. 1995. Nunataks of the last ice sheet in northwest Scotland. Boreas, 24:305–323.
 
Stoker, M. & Bradwell, T. 2005 The Minch palaeo-ice stream, NW sector of the British-Irish Ice Sheet. Journal of the Geological Society, 162 (3). 425-428.
Trewin, N. H.The Geology of Scotland. 4th edn. United Kingdom: Geological Society Publishing House. 2003
University of Birmingham field guide – Assynt field course
Washburn, A.L, Geocryology, Edward Arnold, London, pp 122-156, 1979
http://www.physicalgeography.net/fundamentals/10ag.html
http://www.earth.ox.ac.uk/~oesis/nws/nws-geolhist.html
http://www.discoverassynt.co.uk/landscape-geology.php
http://www.see.leeds.ac.uk/structure/assyntgeology/extra_info/about_us/project_details.htm
http://www.scottishgeology.com/geo/regional-geology/midland-valley/south-end-of-loch-lomond/
http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/geology/scotland/ice.asp
http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/geology/scotland.pdf
 

Case of the Royal Bank of Scotland Plc (RBS

This report examined the performance of Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc and evaluated the competitive environment of the banking sector that it operates (RBS), and give the reasons for the current performance of the organisation, in order to do the recommendations for the better future actions who can be taken and conclusion.
RBS was selected because of the criteria for being an elders UK based company but also among the four biggest bank institution in the country banking industry. the three factors PET of the letters “PESTEL”, the Porters five forces, and SWOT analyses were used as Strategic management tools to examine the good health (performance) of Royal Bank of Scotland Plc. To get solid answers, we used different sources of information sources linked to the strategic management tools to measure the effective and efficiency of RBS plc health. on the basis of a study through credible sources of information online articles (Finance Times, Bloomberg, Guardian, etc.…) but also by, academic journals and books, company web site and database in the DMU library. 

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This report found out that Royal Bank of Scotland is among the olders biggest financial institution in the UK and in the world according to finance Times journal. It employs 77 600 employees in the world (source: Bloomberg,2019) and a pproxilamatly 2500 workers in the UK. Its Operating net profit in 2018 were £ 1.6 bn up 2.13% from previous year.
The SWOT analysis give us insight to make some recommendations to the RBS in terms of market share and position but also some areas to improve such to invested in technology (Internet Banking) to improve the customers’ satisfaction and is competitive advantage in the sector.
On the other hand, the PET factors that we used to measure the external environment found that, the market situation recovered in 2016, with several key measures having experienced solid growth. Loans rose 2.9% on average to such low interest rate provide an incentive to borrow. the economic turmoil associated with Brexit. In terms of technology this is an opportunity for RBS plc for to increase customers’ satisfaction need to invest more in this rapid technology growth.
Introduction
The UK banking industry are experiencing an unprecedented wave of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for the past two years. This movement, which began in the United States, took place United Kingdom banking crisis after the big banking crisis in 1998 within the sparked controversial debate on the subject that affects several components: financial, political, regulatory and social.
According to Carl-Johan Lindgren, Gillian Garcia and Matthew Saal, (2015), the fundamental role of the banking industry is to collect deposits from the public (especially deposits) and provide credit to businesses and households. In another word, is to direct the money of those who have financial capacity (temporarily too much money) to those who need it and offer sufficient guarantees
This report will analyses first the current performance of the Royal Bank of Scotland in exploring the recent annual reports of the organization (2017, 2018 to Q3 2019). In the second task will analyses is competitive environment in the banking sector and lastly give the reasons of the current performance. To achieve the result of those questions, we will use the annuals report of RBS (2017,2018 and the 3Q of 2019). The strategic tools will be used in order to make insight of the findings. To do so, we will focus on the Political, Economic and Technological factors of “PESTEL” that playing an important role in the banking industry in terms of external environment, the porters five forces to measure the competitive environment of the sector for RBS as the sector had several competitors and the Internal environment tools (SWOT) analysis to review the internal ability of the business.
Background of Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC
The RBS group Plc is among the elders banking institution in the UK and Ireland where it operates as Ulster Bank, which offers a whole variety of services and products to companies, individuals, and commercial institutions. The Royal Bank of Scotland, according to the company’s website was established in 1727. its name was revealed to the royal charter which was granted when it was formed. The group continued to develop its activities worldwide after the appropriation (Acquisition) of Westminster Bank in 2000, with offices in Europe, the United States of America and Asia, according to Harry Wilson and Francine Lacqua of the Bloomberg journal, (Sept 2019). It is headquartered in Edinburgh, UK. It has around 77,900 employees.
According to the Bloomberg newspaper of September, 2019 by Harry Wilson and Francine Lacqua, the British government remains the main shareholder with a stake of around 62%.
The Current Performance of Royal Bank of Scotland
In order to be able to effectively to analyse the performance of a company is essentially concerned with measurement, Roberts et al (2005).
Banks’ performance is generally measured by the return on assets (ROA), the return on equity (ROE) or the net margin on interest (NMI), and is a function of internal and external determinants. Internal determinants are also sometimes called microeconomic or inherent determinants of performance, while external determinants are variables that reflect the economic and legal environment in which the bank operates, Demirgüç-Kunt et al. (1999).
According to Marketline,2019, the United Kingdom banks industry grew by 10.7% in 2016 to reach a value of $10,255.8 billion. With a forecast in 20121 to have a value of $9,953.5 billion, a decrease of 2.9% since 2016.
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc, is financial services company, providing a wide range of products and services. The group operates in the Europe, The US of America and Asia through its two principal subsidiaries, the RBS and NatWest.
To measure the performance of the company, we will effectively base ourselves on the financial reports of two previous fiscal years. As we can see in the table below, despite the fact that the bank continues to be financed by the taxpayer through the government which is the main shareholder up to 62%. (Source: Bloomberg newspaper, Sept 2019)
2017 and 2018 financial report of the companies, shows us a better financial performance despite an uncertain economy because of Brexit and a very difficult environmental competition in the sector. See table 1 below.
£ 1.6 billion for the whole of 2018, up from £ 752 million in 2017. With revenue of million operating profit (FY 2017). This reveals the company’s ability to improve is performance, as presented in the balance sheet and Income of Statement of the Company in the annual report 2018. (see appendix 1).
This is the second successive year of profit for the bank since it used public funds of around    £ 45 billion in 2008 as argued the chairman of the company according to the chief executive of the group. (Annual report 2018).
Ross McEwan, the RBS’s former Chief Executive, said, “2018 was a year of strong progress on our strategy – we settled our remaining major legacy issues, paid our first dividend in ten years and delivered another full year bottom line profit. However, while our financial performance is more assured, we know that a significant gap remains to achieving our ambition to be the best bank for customers. We are fully focused on closing this gap.”
The company recorded revenues of £ 2.2239 with a net operating profit of £ 1.6 billion in the fiscal year ending December 2018, an increase of 2.13.2% compared to fiscal 2017 up from £ 752 million of net profit.
As we know, one of the main objectives for a company is to maximise the shareholders’ wealth. so, paying the dividend to the shareholders for the first time in a decade showed that RBS continue to progress in building a stronger, safer bank that is capable of delivering improving returns.
Table 1: Performance analysis of RBS

Table 1 : The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc : Key Financials Results (£)

£ million

          2017

          2018

         2019 (Q3)

Revenues

13,133

13,402

 

Net Income P/L

1,503

2,151

(209)

Total assets

738,056

694,235

776,507

Total Liabilities

688,957

647,745

 

 
 
 
 

Table 1 : The Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc : Key Financials Results (£)

Ratio

2017

2018

2019

Profit margin

2.13

1.98

 

Debt/ asset ratio

0.93

0.93

 

Return on assets

 
 
 

Earnings per share 13.5p in 2018 to 6.3p in 2017
In spite of the payment of dividend to shareholders, RBS, who is the UK’s biggest lender to small businesses, try to maintain its targets but cautioned that the outlook “is likely to make income growth more challenging in the near term”. Its shares fell 3.8 per cent by mid-afternoon on Friday, to 240p.
try to maintain its targets, but warned that the outlook “should make revenue growth more difficult in the short term”. Its shares fell 3.8% to 240p in October 2019.
According to Jason Napier, analyst at UBS, “the headline results probably look worse than the reality”. Net interest margin, the difference between what the bank pays for funds and what it earns from lending — was weighed down by accounting changes. RBS said margins in its core retail and commercial units were steady at 2.07 per cent.
The Competitive environment of RBS Bank Group Plc
According to Michael E Porter (1979), the Five Forces of Competitive Position Analysis is a simple framework for assessing and evaluating the competitive strength and position of a business organisation. This part will try to analyse the five factors and understand those factors that can affect or affecting profitability in UK banking industry and Royal Bank of Scotland.
1. The bargaining power of buyers / clients of the Royal Bank of Scotland is a reason for the buyers’ lack of interest in closing their bank account despite the new incentives, on the other hand, an increasing number of banks and Fin Tech companies which offer services of identical quality. and at lower cost is perhaps the real reason for this departure. This lowers the costs of substitution between banks, and gives purchasing power to get service at extremely low costs. According to (McConnel 2017; Miligan 2017), integrating technology into financial management, customers and buyers opt for Fin Tech services to make payments, transactions and even save money easily in the savings accounts launched by companies such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s for instance.
2. The suppliers of the Royal Bank of Scotland have an indisputably meager bargaining power, a cause of the large number of suppliers on a low banking ratio in the consolidated and concentrated markets. What can be donated to the Royal Bank of Scotland, the capacity offered for goods and services at a lower cost with suppliers.
3. Competitive rivalry, Personal and retail banks in the UK in the sector is very fractioned, the largest banking structures are 4, namely: Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays and RBS which together control 77% of UK current accounts and around 80% of accounts banking for businesses. According to KPMG 2016, distinct from the oligopolistic competitive structure system. This situation is the result of mergers and banking weaknesses following the great financial crisis of 2008, that only a few new banks have continued to emerge and offer current accounts, for instance Virgin Money, Metro Bank (Dunkley 2017). This can be explaining by the Regulation in the banking sector is costly and a major obstacle for new entrants.
4. Threat of substitution, according to several sources, the continuous arrival of Financial Technology and new non-financial players entering the financial sector as Atom Bank’s successful business model has shown the way for many other FinTech like Apple with Apple pay, Google with Google wallet (Brown 2017). The Royal Bank of Scotland is facing an increasing threat of substitutes Financial Technology companies like its other competitors.
According to (Mintel 2018), Substitutes for personal and professional account services include cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
5. Threat of new entry, Traditionally, the banking industry has high barriers to entry that have made the threat of entry low. Even now, new entrants face high barriers of entry including traditional barriers such as physical branches, experienced staff as well as existing burdensome regulation following the 2008 GFC. For example, acquiring e-money or bank licenses requires a series of time-consuming steps like pre-application, application, mobilization and beyond lifting, where overall higher standards are required for banks (Hipperson 2017). This discourages emerging of new Banks, which is why only a few new banks have been able to offer current accounts in the past five years, including Virgin Money, Metro Bank, and Marks and Spencer while existing banks like Norwich and Peterborough building society have exited the market due to burdensome costs (Dunkly 2017). Customer apathy to switching bank accounts despite new incentive regulations further creates barriers to entry for new challenger banks (Milligan 2017). However, government regulations like the new UK Open Banking could lower barriers of entry in the banking sector and open up competition enabling FinTech companies and other banks to compete with the major banks that are dominating the UK banking sector (William-Grut 2018).
Analyse PESTEL of UK Bank industry
PESTEL analysis is a strategic tools of management that helps companies to provide a list of potentially important issues influencing their strategies in analysing certain factors in terms of (Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Environment and Legal) external environment or macro environment to understand the major challenges that a company facing and position the business plan.
For our research, we will focus on the PET of the letters PESTEL factor, the Political, Economic and Technological factors.
The political context of RBS Group plc banking is very complex, as the bank operates in several countries and hence it must respond to the reality of each system concerning changing rules and regulations
According to (Chari, 2007), as we know the British government still the main support of the RBS and the bank continue to face important problems abroad. For instance, in Etats-Unis, the local government try to maintain the local banks. As a result, the Royal Bank of Scotland faces significant challenges in maintaining its overseas affiliates and the bank relies on continued government support
This is why it can be said that certain political aspects can, in principle, compromise the growth of banking on a global scale in terms of changing regulations and rules.
This is a key factor in the step of growth and evolution of the company. With the uncertainty of the Brexit, the industry is considered to be vulnerable to the Brexit ruling, as large banking groups may seek to move their operations to another EU country in order to retain access in the single market but also government policies and taxation changes.
In terms of Economic factors are particularly important in this regard for the growth and development of the Royal Bank of Scotland on all issues. Indeed, the growth of the bank was maintained due to a violent expansion and the entry into new markets. Today, the Royal Bank of Scotland is trying to strengthen its slowed expansion after a slowdown due to financial problems and the economic recession of 2008 which saw government relief through the taxpayers’ fund. The banking sector is facing a deep crisis. Therefore, the Royal Bank of Scotland must continue to optimize its performance in order to get out of government support and renew its growth in the near future.
As Profitability hampered by law interest rate environment, Thus, its growth depends on macroeconomic factors such as fluctuations in exchange rates and the often unpredictable stock market, whether here or elsewhere in the world.
The RBS Group like the rest of the banking groups, had to comply with the digital transfer and put technology at the heart of its actions. RBS group, set up the online banking services to individuals’ customers but still have a huge problem with the technology. for instance, recently it was hit by second IT glitch, and Customers expressed frustration after banks’ websites go down, (The Guardian, August 2019). To improve this, the new Chief Executive has promised to put at the heart of its actions digital development and planned to invest million pounds (for 2020). Thus to meet the regulatory requirement force of bank to invest in IT infrastructure.
The impact of the technology on the costs that most companies in the industry are subject to have the potential to increase or reduce the resulting profits greatly. If these profits are great in number, they may be reinvested into the research and development department, where future technological innovations would further raise the level of profits, and so on, ensuring sustainable profits over a long period of time.
The Reasons of current performance
To give reasons for the performance of Royal Bank of Scotland, the internal environmental tools (SWOT) will be apply to measure the capacity of the RBS in the banking sector, therefore helps to formulate recommendations.
SWOT analysis help to determine the strategic alternatives available to businesses by comparing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Strengths

During the year 2016, RBS sought to mitigate where possible the impact of many of the macro challenges and threats analysed in PESTLE (figure 1) such as Brexit, civil litigations, fines and government regulatory pressure while also benefiting from the existing opportunities such as a reduced balance sheet, and growth in mortgages.
Diverse business profile.
High Dow Jones Sustainability Index.
RBS is largest commercial bank in the UK.

Weaknesses

RBS has not been profitable since 2007 and this continued in 2016 with the company making an attributable loss of £7billion.
Material legacy conduct issues are still holding RBS back especially in relation to various litigations regarding the mis-selling of toxic mortgage bonds in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis. RBS also still needs to resolve European Commission State Aid commitments including the need to sell off Williams & Glyn, which has so far proven extremely complex and has actually held back the upgrade and enhancement of a new RBS technological infrastructure which needs to be modernised and be cyber resilient.
Divesture of Williams & Glyn has proved to be time consuming and extremely complex.
RBS still has legacy RWAs.

Opportunities

The strategic divesture of its shareholding in Citizens in the US as well as ending active operations in more than 25 countries as part of the continued restructuring to ringfence its UK operations, will improve core return and eliminate drag from non-core, further progressing the resolution of pre-crisis conduct issues (Annual Report 2016).
Digital innovation a future avenue for growth and improving customer service experience.
Growth in new mortgage lending market share as currently, demand for housing in many parts of the UK outstrips supply (Annual Report 2016, p.33).

Threats

Brexit uncertainty is bad for many UK businesses including RBS. Management have already come up with contingency plans to establish an enhanced presence inside the EU to handle RBS EU activities within the borders of Europe should this be required as a result of the Brexit negotiations (Financial Times 2017).
Regulatory pressure including new capital requirements.
Introduction of a new 8 percent surcharge on bank profits in January 2016 by UK government.
Legal penalties by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) still pending over residential mortgage-backed securities – costs one US agency has estimated could take RBS total outlay to $13bn in legal costs (Arnold and Dunkley 2016).

Recommendations ([Provide brief recommendations on 1. The strategic decisions that need to be made for the organisation to succeed 2. The areas for innovation that should be considered and 3. The organisational culture required and Future growth approximately 400 words
Conclusions
RBS continu à connaitre de moment difficiles depuis disons 2008 mais cette situation a connu un revirement suite à l’appui du gouvernement à renflouer ses comptes. Malgré tout cela, RBS continu à connaitre un environnement politique très difficile, caractérisé par des restructurations en raison des nouvelles règles de fonds propres réglementaires de l’UE, du Brexit, de l’introduction d’une nouvelle surtaxe de 8% sur les bénéfices bancaires ainsi d’une mauvaise gouvernance.
Malgré de problèmes judiciaires et enquêtes hypothécaires s’élevant à plus de 4,5 milliards de dollars (3,5 milliards de livres sterling) à la Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) des États-Unis en frais de contentieux et en règlement de ventes abusives de produits toxiques.
Elle continue son travail et sera finalement rentable en 2018 après plus d’une décennie de pertes. Sa sortie de 26 pays et la cession de nombreuses filiales ont amélioré le bilan des banques, ce qui la rend plus petite, mieux capitalisée et moins endettée, donc bien préparée à se concentrer sur son cœur de marché britannique.
List of References

Dunkley, Emma (2017) “UK challenger banks shy away from current accounts market” Financial Times [Online] at https://www.ft.com/content/ca1c26fa-81a6-11e7-94e2-c5b903247afd KPMG (2016) “2016 Banking Sector Briefing” [Online] at https://home.kpmg.com/content/dam/kpmg/pdf/2016/02/banking-the-customer-experience-dividend.pd

 

The Biodiversity of the Lochaber Area of Scotland

The Lochaber area of Scotland supports a wide diversity of flora and fauna within its varied habitat, the importance of this biodiversity and the conservation of it is recognized at national and international level. It is an area that is rich in many species of wildlife and has a wide and varied habitat with coastal grasslands such as Machair, which is unique only to the west coast of North Sutherland and the Western Isles. The Atlantic Oak woodlands and peat bogs are arguably the best examples of their kind in Europe.
Habitats within the Lochaber area are endowed with an abundance of wildlife and natural native woodlands, moorland, grasslands, fresh water rivers and Lochs and unique marine coastal zones. The ecosystems and habitats are very diverse making for a complex interplay between the geology, topography and climate.
Lochaber is very rich with rare plant life such as Drooping Saxifrage, Diapensia and Arctic Sandwort, there are also many scarce lichens and bryophytes. Wildlife in mountainous areas includes Mountain Ringlet butterfly and other rare insects. There are Mountain Hares, Ptarmigan and substantial bird of prey populations, with exceptional numbers of breeding Golden Eagle, there are also Sea Eagles breeding in Lochaber.

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Lochaber is renowned for its geological features many of which are of international, national and regional importance. This is a classic area for the study of the rock formations which are associated with the Caledonian mountains belt and the well-known volcanic activity associated with the opening up the North Atlantic. Well before the ocean opened the Caledonian mountain range stretched continuously from Svalvard, through Norway, the British Isles and through Greenland to the Appalachian range in North America.
The geology in Lochaber is unique among Geoparks in having records involving both ancient plate collision and the rifting apart of the plates. Ben Nevis and Glencoe within the east, magmas formed by melting beneath the Caledonian range during the process of subduction giving rise to super caldera volcanoes. Rum and Ardnamurchan and lavas of Eigg and Morvern with in the west, rifting apart of plates, triggered by the up-rise of a hot plume from the Earth’s mantle producing the internationally renowned volcanic centres.  Lochaber Geology. Retrieved March 8 2017 from http://lochabergeopark.org.uk/about-us/lochaber-geology/
During the last Ice Age the final shaping of the Lochaber landscape took place, there are many interesting examples of features relating to glacial action, classic examples are the Parallel Roads of Glen Roy, the shorelines of a large temporary lake held back by a glacier, they became world famous by the rivalry and controversy between Charles Darwin and Swiss geologist Louis Agassiz.  The Parallel Roads of Glen Roy and Glen Cloy Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is of outstanding importance for its range of Quaternary and fluvial geomorphology features. Lochaber Geology. Glen Roy. Retrieved March 9 2017 from http://www.snh.org.uk/pdfs/publications/geology/glen%20roy.pdf
Lochaber is known as The Outdoor Capital of the UK, the area happens to cater for a huge variety of outdoor pursuits, either on land, in the air and in the water, this gives the opportunity for all sorts of outdoor adventures in some of the most dramatic and beautiful locations in Scotland. Lochaber has some of the highest mountains in the country and this draws both visitors and locals into the hills in all seasons to climb or walk.
Lochaber also draws many mountain bikers from the United Kingdom and around the world to compete in the Mountain Bike World Cup (UK round) or just to ride on the numerous trails Lochaber has to offer, many of which cater for all abilities.
The Nevis range and Glencoe both have ski centres providing excellent off piste skiing, the ski centres usually open between Christmas and April depending on snow conditions. There are a lot more winter sports in Lochaber besides downhill skiing, ski mountaineering is popular with visitors and locals, then there’s snowboarding which is becoming very popular.
Water sports are also very popular in Lochaber with a good community of local paddlers, most popular is river canoeing in many of the fast flowing rivers, sea kayaking in Loch Linnie is also very popular. Another popular form of canoeing is open canoeing or Canadian canoeing in slow moving rivers and fresh water lochs.
The Highlands of Scotland are exceptional for country pursuit destinations that offer visitors outstanding sporting experiences amongst stunning & dramatic landscapes. Lochaber is no exception, Highland Shooting Estates and open countryside offer a wide variety of country sports such as fishing and deer stalking, however this can come into conflict with wildlife conservation groups and if not managed properly cause problems with other outdoor activities such as birdwatching and hill walking.
In the 1930s skiing was established by keen local skiers, it then died down during WW2 and post war years. In 1968 the economic potential of outdoor leisure activities was recognized and in 1974 a planning report was produced and sponsored by the Scottish Tourist Board with the great prospect of winter sports resorts being developed in Scotland.  Fort William and several other areas in Scotland eventually developed these sites into all year round outdoor tourist destinations.
During the construction phase of these sites much consideration was made to avoid any environmental impact, planning constraints and controls were put in place to protect the environment. Buildings were designed to be camouflage within the vegetation, no heavy machinery was used in the construction of the site so helicopters were used to transport materials for low impact on the fragile environment during development. History of Nevis Range. Retrieved 10 March 2017 from http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/history.asp
Skiing facilities are used almost throughout the year, infrastructure, such as the gondola at Aonach Mor which carries more summer visitors than skiers, the chairlifts and the ski centres cause a visual impact within the mountain scenery, but they also enable easy access to the magnificent panoramic views. However, such facilities create pressures on the vulnerable mountain landscape, because of this the chairlifts at Aonach Mor are closed during the summer to reduce impact to the sensitive hilltop vegetation and to allow recovery time.

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The establishment of such ski resorts regardless of how much consideration is given to the environment will eventually have negative impact. Scottish mountain habitats are already threatened from a wide spectrum of threats and disturbances and ski resorts is one of them. It is well known certain activities can cause problems with wildlife by harming their habitat, damaging vegetation and compacting soils. Ptarmigan are already declining due to several decades of too much human interference, collisions with lift cables and losing their nests to non-mountain wildlife predators such as sea gulls, crows and even rats which have moved into the area due to human activity attracting them.
The combined effects of conifer plantations, windfarms, mountain bike trails, dirt roads and isolated buildings to cater for outdoor recreation may diminish the potential to experience natural landscapes which seem untouched by man, this is the biggest threat to the Lochaber area, yet such remote areas are priceless escapes into beautiful mountainous places. The conservation and management of semi-natural habitats, such as heather moorland, ancient woodland, sand dunes, bogs and marshes is vitally important to maintain and enhance natural biodiversity, however this is poorly managed in places. Such habitats also make an important visual contribution to the landscape, but because their economic value cannot always be perceived, they are under constant pressure from all aspects of landscape change from man.
Over the last 30 years there has been a significant increase in hill walking and climbing in Lochaber, necessitating improved footpaths and other facilities for walkers, where these are not provided considerable erosion has occurred, such as in Glen Coe. This presents problems particularly at popular routes and large numbers of people can become a visual impact in their own right. These problems are most marked at Ben Nevis, which is subject to wear and tear from thousands of walkers, tourists and climbers throughout much of the year. However, erosion has also occurred along the stalkers paths in the Mamore Forest, in the hills around Glen Coe and in Knoydart.
The use of mountain bikes has increased in recent years and this activity without proper control, may have significant adverse impacts on the landscape. The majority of cyclists keep to forest tracks which are promoted and managed for this purpose and this limits damage to particular routes, for example, along the West Highland Way which is very popular with cyclists.  However, other paths, especially hill tracks, are also used both by cyclists and by trial biker’s, this already presents problems of footpath erosion and this pressure seems likely to increase.
With almost everyone owning a car these days, better public transport services, the ever growing population in Scotland and the rest of the UK, large car parks at the start of many mountain walks, mountain biking routes the erosion problems on our stunning mountain landscape is only going to get worst in the coming years.
Conclusion
Lochaber is unique place with its geological features and natural almost untouched habitats, however with the increase of outdoor adventure activities increasing there has to be real safeguarding management in place to protect the natural environment we hold so dear.
References
Forestry Commission Scotland [online] Available at: http://scotland.forestry.gov.uk/images/corporate/pdf/nevis-forest-and-mountain-resort-masterplan.pdf [Accessed March 11 2017]
John Muir Trust [online] Available at: https://www.johnmuirtrust.org/trust-land/ben-nevis [Accessed March 9 2017]
Lochaber Geo Park [online] Available at: http://lochabergeopark.org.uk/ [Accessed March 8 2017]
Nevis Range [online] Available at: http://www.nevisrange.co.uk/ [Accessed March 10 2017]
Outdoor Capital [online] Available at: http://www.outdoorcapital.co.uk/ [Accessed March 11 2017]