View from Sgurr-Hain, Cuillin hills
The Cuillin (Scottish Gaelic: An Cuilthionn or An Cuiltheann) are a range of rocky mountains located on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. The true Cuillin are also known as the Black Cuillin to distinguish them from the Red Hills across Glen Sligachan. The Red Hills are lower and, being less rocky, have fewer scrambles or climbs.
The Black Cuillin are mainly composed of basalt and gabbro, the latter being a very rough rock which makes for superb grip for mountaineers. It is from the dark colour of the gabbro that the Black Cuillin receive their name. The summits of the Cuillin are bare rock, jagged in outline and with steep cliffs and deep cut corries and gullies.
The Red Hills
The Red Hills (Am Binnean Dearg in Gaelic) are sometimes known as the Red Cuillin though this is not a local name. They are mainly composed of granitic rock which is paler than the gabbro (with a reddish tinge from some angles in some lights) and has weathered into more rounded hills with vegetation cover to summit level and long scree slopes on their flanks.
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Near Loch Coruisk on the Island of Skye, Scotland
Isle of Skye, near Loch Coruisk in Scotland.
Europe is generally agreed to be the birthplace of western culture, including such legendary innovations as the democratic nation-state, football and tomato sauce.
The word Europe comes from the Greek goddess Europa, who was kidnapped by Zeus and plunked down on the island of Crete. Europa gradually changed from referring to mainland Greece until it extended finally to include Norway and Russia.
Don't be confused that Europe is called a continent without looking like an island, the way the other continents do. It's okay. The Ural mountains have steadily been there to divide Europe from Asia for the last 250 million years. Russia technically inhabits "Eurasia".
Europe is presently uniting into one political and economic zone with a common currency called the Euro. The European Union originated in 1993 and is now composed of 27 member states. Its headquarters is in Brussels, Belgium.
Do not confuse the EU with the Council of Europe, which has 47 member states and dates to 1949. These two bodies share the same flag, national anthem, and mission of integrating Europe. The headquarters of the Council are located in Strasbourg, France, and it is most famous for its European Court of Human Rights.
In spite of these two bodies, there is still no single Constitution or set of laws applying to all the countries of Europe. Debate rages over the role of the EU in regards to national sovereignty. As of January 2009, the Lisbon Treaty is the closest thing to a European Constitution, yet it has not been approved by all the EU states.
Text by Steve Smith.