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The Highlands include two mountain ranges, the Northwest Highlands and the Grampian mountains. Both ranges have parallel rocky ridges running from northeast to southwest. There are two kinds of valleys. Glens are step and narrow, while straths are broad and rolling. A deep valley called Glenb More, or the Great Glen, lies between the two mountain ranges. The highest point in the British Isles is Ben Nevis, which reaches a height of 4406 feet above sea level.

Politically, the Highlands were historically dominated by independent clans, who fiercely resisted control by the English and by lowland Scots. Much of the clan heritage remains, visible as kilts, bagpipes, tartans, and highland games.

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