This week's UK news: 1 September 2013
1 September 2013

English queue on a mountain

One of the UK's best known mountains had a queue of walkers trying to reach the top on last week's public holiday.
Snowdon is the highest mountain in England and Wales, at 3,560 feet high. It has a railway going all the way to the top but there are several good paths which suit walkers of different abilities. Each year more than 3,600 walkers get to the top.
Sir Chris Bonington, a famous mountaineer, has advised walkers to look for less well known mountains and hills. He said there are many other mountains close to Snowdon in Wales where people could walk without seeing anyone else all day.
"I think it's wonderful that so many people are getting out there and there are so many people wanting to go up Snowdon on that particular day," he said.
"You can always find some beautiful walks where there won't be many people. But if you want to climb Snowdon and you enjoy the crowds, go to that as well, there's nothing wrong with it.
"It's a lovely mountain. It's a magnificent looking mountain from a distance," he said. "It is one that I hold very dearly because that's where I started my climbing some 60 years ago. Of course it was much less crowded then, but even 50 years ago there was a little cage on the top of Snowdon."

English skills in the UK

Many people have moved to the UK from other countries recently. The majority speak English well, but new information has found that people from certain areas seem to have worse English skills.
People whose first languages is Polish are the largest group after native Englsh speakers, and more than a quarter of them said their English was not good or they did not speak any. Around a quarter of native speakers of Urdu or Gujarati and nearly a third of native Punjabi and Bengali speakers did not have a good command of English either. The information came from 2011 general survey (census) of everyone in England and Wales, and also found people who do not speak English are less likely to be healthy.
English was the main language for 92 per cent of people aged three and over living in England and Wales in 2011, the census found. Most of those with a different main language spoke English proficiently. There were 88 main languages spoken other than English.

Edinburgh zoo goes panda mad

Edinburgh zoo could have the first giant panda born in the UK, or even twins, within a few days. The zoo expects its visitor numbers to double to 1.2 million, and advance ticket sales rose when the zoo announced that its female panda might be pregnant.
Economists say one panda cub alone could earn Edinburgh and the Scottish economy an extra £48m over the next 10 years. But it is still not definite that she is pregnant, and even if she is, the baby may not be born alive. Newborn giant pandas are tiny and pink, with eyes shut for up to six weeks.


New English apples arrive in shops

England is famous for its apples and the first of this year's crop are arriving in shops now. around 200,000 tonnes are expected to be picked this year, better than last year when terrible weather badly affected the crop.
This year the fruit is likely to be perfect but very small.
Fruit growers have been planting more orchards recently and changing the kind of apples they grow. They say demand is growing for sweeter and crisper varieties grown in other parts of the world. However, the first English apples to be ready will be more traditional varieties.

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