Upper glacial valleys: tourism and water

Highland tourism

Advantages

  • The lakes and mountains of glacial highland areas attract British and international tourists
  • They visit the highlands for activities such as skiing, climbing, mountain biking, hiking and hang gliding
  • This gives people who live in towns an opportunity to enjoy the countryside, and brings wealth to the local people who provide them with accommodation and other services
Tourists at Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia, Wales
Tourists at Mount Snowdon in Snowdonia, Wales

Disadvantages

  • Not everyone in local communities welcomes tourists - some fear interference with their livelihoods (eg farmers), or congestion and pollution from cars and litter
  • Tourist developments like building ski lifts can spoil the landscape
  • Too much recreational activity may damage fragile environments (eg soil erosion can interfere with flora and fauna)
A car park in the Cairngorms National Park
A car park in the Cairngorms National Park

Highland water works

Glacial valleys, with their steep sides and high rainfall, are ideal for damming to create reservoirs for drinking water and hydroelectric power.

Advantages

This creates local jobs and new opportunities for sports and businesses, such as fish farming. It also provides people in other parts of the country with water and renewable electricity.

Disadvantages

  • Damming has a major impact on local environments
  • Flooding valleys and altering the course of rivers affects the water cycle and prevents the landscape being used by farmers, tourists and wildlife
  • Dams are considered by some to be blots on the landscape
Water flowing over Derwent Dam in Derbyshire
Water flowing over Derwent Dam in Derbyshire