Scots Blog

The Scots language has a rich tradition, and abounds with marvellous words. This blog will regularly show a different Scots or Gaelic word with its English equivalent. I hope that you will enjoy them as much as I do!

Linda Gilmore Sutherland


TARBERT 14/11/2016

by Linda - 01:01 on 14 November 2016


A tarbert (sometimes spelled tarbet) is a neck of land between two navigable stretches of water. This word more specifically refers to a narrow piece of land over which a boat could  be drawn, and is derived from the gaelic meaning 'across' and 'carry'.

The tarbert between the islands of Harris and Lewis in the Western Isles is an excellent example. The jetty on the lower (eastern) side of the tarbert is used by the ferry which plies between Uig on the Isle of Skye and Tarbert. In this case, as in many others, the village is also given the name of Tarbert.

As you may imagine, the west coast of Scotland in particular has many tarberts, and these are often places of settlement. My atlas of Britain includes seven Tarberts/Tarbets as place names in Scotland, so it is necessary to be clear to specify which Tarbert is meant.

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