THE inhabitants of Tarbert (pop 1,600) are dismayed because the idyllic West Highland fishing town built around an inlet of Loch Fyne has literally been erased from the map. Anyone tapping into the ubiquitous Google search engine and looking up Tarbert on the associated interactive map will find that it does not exist. Or rather, inexplicably, it has been renamed Carse – though which of the many carses in particular is not explained. In Scotland, a carse is a piece of low-lying land, suc
If Google is going to lose places off the map, we can think of better suggestions than lovely Tarbert, most of them in the nastier parts of Afghanistan.
But perhaps Tarbert should not get too upset at its enforced anonymity, which seems to be the result of an all-too-typical hitch with a sat nav programme. Understandably, the town is worried it will lose visitors. However, we can think of another Highland town actually made famous by not appearing on any map – or at least only for one day every hundred years. In their case, lost American tourists were always turning up, falling in love with the place and marrying the local girls. All Tarbert needs to do is put up a big sign outside of town announcing Brigadoon and wait for the visitors (and cash) to roll in.