Falls of Shin and Salmon
nr Lairg, Sutherland
The Falls of Shin is one of the best places in
Scotland to watch leaping Atlantic Salmon.
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
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.
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
Location: Falls of Shin and Salmon Leap,
Grid Reference: NH575993
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
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.
Other Useful Websites:
Falls of Shin RiverCam
Address: Falls of Shin, Achany Glen, Lairg,
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.
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