The diversity of Scotland's mountains is remarkable, encompassing the isolated summits of the far northwest, the serrated ridges of Skye, the tor-studded high plateau of the Cairngorms and the rolling hills of the Southern Uplands. Born on ancient continents and uplifted by tectonic forces, the mountains of Scotland have been sculpted by successive ice sheets, landslides, frost, wind and running water.
Scottish Mountain Landscapes explains the geological evolution of Scotland's mountains, and how this has produced an unparalleled variety of mountain forms. It outlines the effects of successive ice sheets on mountain scenery, and explains the dramatic changes in climate that terminated the Ice Age only 11,500 years ago. In non-technical terms it explains the effects of frost action in forming the rubble that mantles many mountain summits, and how such debris has slowly migrated downslope by freezing and thawing of the ground. The dramatic effects of deglaciation and earthquakes in triggering catastrophic landslides and downslope displacement of entire mountainsides are described, along with accounts of more recent events involving the rapid downslope flow of saturated debris. The book also outlines how Scottish mountains experience frequent gale-force winds, and their impact of wind in scouring plateaus and depositing expanses of windblown sand on lee slopes. The role of floods in eroding upland terrain and depositing floodplains, terraces and fans of sediment is described in the context of possible human influence on river regime through forest clearance.
Written in clear, non-technical language and abundantly illustrated, Scottish Mountain Landscapes is designed to provide an essential guide to landforms for all those who walk, climb, live and work in the mountains of Scotland.
Colin Ballantyne is a an academic geomorphologist with 40 years of research experience. He has worked in a wide range of environments, including the Canadian High Arctic, Norway, Spitsbergen, the Alps and New Zealand, but much of his research has focused on the mountains of Scotland. His research interests in Scotland are diverse, spanning work on the last ice sheet and later glacier readvances, the periglacial geomorphology of mountain areas, landslides, and how the landscape has evolved in the 11,500 years since the last glaciers disappeared from Scotland.