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Falls of Shin and Salmon Leap

nr Lairg, Sutherland

Location Guide

The Falls of Shin is one of the best places in Scotland to watch leaping Atlantic Salmon.

  • Spectacular waterfall

  • Leaping Atlantic Salmon

  • Visitor Centre

  • A number of other attractions.

It is in the Highlands and in an area referred to as The Kyle of Sutherland.  A ‘Kyle’ in Scotland means an area where the sea comes right inland and has rivers flowing into its tidal waters. The Kyle of Sutherland has five rivers flowing into it, the rivers Carron, Oykel, Cassley, Shin and Evelix. Together, these five rivers drain 163,647 hectares of land which contain 61 named lochs and lochans, have 46 miles of tidal shore line, comprises 70 miles of principle rivers and 400 miles of tributaries. The Kyle of Sutherland remains tidal for a long way inland,  in fact right up as far as Rosehall where the rivers Oykel and Cassley meet and flow into the tidal waters.

The Falls of Shin, as the name suggests, is on the River Shin and the visitor centre is at a point just a few miles from where the river runs into the Kyle. The waterfalls at Shin are spectacular on their own, but the sight of leaping salmon makes them even more special. It is a stunning place to visit, relax and take photos.

The Salmon can be seen anytime between May and November, with the late summer months making this almost guaranteed. They attempt to leap the falls because they are heading up river to breed, returning to the place they were born. Unfortunately on our visit at the beginning of May 2012 and towards the end of the day we only saw a couple and although we watched for a while we didn't see anymore, probably a combination of being a little early in the season and a bit late in the day. But we did get to see and photograph the waterfalls.

A further attraction at the Falls of Shin is the large network of forest paths which lead from it and these are suitable for both walking and family cycling. The forest at Falls of Shin is owned and managed by the Forestry Commission and the walkways and cycle paths are relatively easy and clearly marked. The tree cover is Scots Pine with Birch and Willow on the forest edges. There are also rugged play areas installed for children along the way. There is also a Geocaching forest trail.

As well as the salmon other wildlife you might glimpse on a visit includes;  Crossbill, Siskin, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, Grey Wagtails in the spring and summer months plus Dippers, while Woodcock can be seen in the evenings. In the steep wooded gorge on either side of the river, the native trees of Downy Birch, Silver Birch, Aspen and Hazel provide habitat for birds such as Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher and the Treecreeper. There are also many species of mammal present, including otters occasionally seen,  to the somewhat elusive Pine Martin which could be glimpsed if you’re walking first thing in the morning or evening.

See Larger Image See Larger Image See Larger Image
A craved Tree Stump No Salmon Today! Water over the falls

There is an onsite visitor centre, which houses a restaurant and coffee shop, toilets, gift, clothing and food shop, a Salmon information display and live CCTV of the falls inside. Outside there is a play area for children, mini golf and a large car park.

The River Shin as it flows away from the falls

Location: Falls of Shin and Salmon Leap, Sutherland

Grid Reference: NH575993 Ceremonial County: Sutherland

Map Link: StreetMap

Aerial photo: Google Aerial

Getting there: From the A9 at Tain take the A836 towards Lairg. Through Bonar Bridge at Invershin take the left fork onto the A837 and then right onto the B864. The visitor centre is along on the left.

Access: From the visitor centre car park, cross the road and walk down the winding path to the viewing platform for the waterfalls and salmon leap.
Website: www.fallsofshin.co.uk
Other Useful Websites: Falls of Shin RiverCam
Email: info@fallsofshin.co.uk
Address: Falls of Shin, Achany Glen, Lairg, Sutherland
Postcode: IV27 4EE Telephone: 01549 402231
Opening Times: Waterfalls and car park at all times. Visitor Centre opens 10am-4pm daily, meals served 12noon-2.30pm.

Charges: Free

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By: Tracey Park Section: Waterfalls Section Key:
Page Ref: falls_of_shin Topic: Waterfalls Last Updated: 06/2012


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