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Outstanding fishing on the River Shin.

The River Shin is, with the Oykel, Carron and Cassley, one of the Kyle of Sutherland's four famous rivers. Like the Awe, Ewe and Kirkaig, the Shin has long been famous for being a small river that holds huge fish. Unlike the others though, it’s water level is held up by a hydro dam meaning the river remains at a very good fishing height thought the summer months. Every week holds a chance of landing a great fish.

The River Shin

It is certainly one of the most reliable rivers in Scotland. The Upper Shin has averaged catches of 17 fish a week to 8 rods over the last 40 years. It is not uncommon for rods to come into contact with fish in excess of 20lbs at any point in the season.
The Lairg Estate water starts at the diversion dam below little Loch Shin, in the specially designed Dam pool, and continues down river for approximately three miles terminating in a deep pool called Grief. There are over thirty named pools to fish on the upper Shin. Each has its own unique character, with obvious lies and features, and every pool produces fish.

The Estate water is split into two 4 rod beats. The river is all double bank, and the majority of pools can be fished from both banks. The beats rotate every day at 1 pm.
The river is fly only and is full catch and release. Wading is mostly unnecessary on the Shin, but a few pools do benefit from some wading.

Thigh waders are fine and we would recommend a wading stick as the wading can be tricky in places.
Rod size is a matter of endless speculation. The water is easily covered with a 12' rod. Equal fun can be had with a small single handed rod. For the championship caster there is also room for the longer rod. A floating line works throughout the season and it is a fantastic river for skating and riffling hitched flies on the surface. The fish respond well with explosive takes.

Fishing this way, it is not uncommon to rise as many as 10 fish in a day. The fish also respond well to traditional patterns fished conventionally.
The river is rocky in places and we would suggest that in the early season it is advisable to use a tippet material of at least 15lb.

The early fish run hard and have a tendency to leave the pools, so a heaver tippet gives the angler the option to play fish harder and land them faster for the process of catch and release.


Many people have caught their first salmon on the Shin, and it is almost unheard of for an experienced rod to have a blank week.
Every year guests land fish in excess of 20lbs, and fish of 30lbs or more are often seen and indeed netted for the hatchery. A 38lb salmon was landed in the Shin in 2012 and another one in 2014.

The Fishing on the Lairg Estate Water starts towards the end of May, as soon as the water is warm enough for the salmon to leap the famous Falls of Shin, and ends on the last day of September.


Brown trout in Loch Shin average 3/4 lb, but larger fish up to 4lb are taken early in the season and around the fish farm cages! There are competitions on the Loch to catch some very large ferrox trout.
The Lairg Estate can offer trout fishing on the river Shin and also the river Tirry, plus other lochs and burns. Experienced guides can be arranged if required. Loch Beannach has some exceptional trout, and in the past, fish of up to 5lb have been caught. All fish are wild native brown trout.

Special trout fishing weeks are available on the Upper Shin, during April, May and June, generally before the salmon run the falls.

Fantastic golf courses close by.
Don't forget to pack your clubs.
A number of very famous golf courses are close to Lairg and one of the most renowned is Royal Dornoch. A visit to any one of the lovely links courses of Golspie, Brora, Dornoch or Tain are more than worthwhile. A favourite local and most challenging course can be found at Bonar Bridge. This is a pretty nine hole course, which is a perfect choice if time is pressing or a diversion from fishing is called for!

A new course taking the Highlands by storm is Castle Stuart, which has hosted the Scottish Open for the last two years.
Bonar Bridge (Picture below) is only a 10 minute drive from Lairg Lodge. A nine-hole blend of heath and moorland, and is generally considered one of the most beautiful courses in the Highlands.

The narrow tree-lined fairways require straight driving, while the small, hard-to-read greens will confuse even the most gifted of players.
Dornoch is a championship course and rated no 5 in the world so sometimes it can be a challenge to access it. We suggest that you book early to avoid disappointment. Golpsie is a charming and varied course, which is half an hour from the Estate.

Brora golf course is another links course, which has the added interest of cattle and sheep grazing on it to keep the rough nice and short
For a complete list of courses in the highlands visit:


There are 3 full sets of golf clubs in the Lodge for the guests to borrow without charge. Please may we request you replace any balls you misplace!

An area steeped in history.
There's a vast amount to see and do.
The old crofting county of Sutherland is situated in the far Northern Highlands of Scotland. It is bordered to the South by the county of Ross-shire, and to the North-East by the county of Caithness. With a population of just over 13,000 people living in an area covering 2,300 square miles, Sutherland is one of the remotest and sparsely populated, yet beautiful, parts of Scotland. It was the early Vikings who came to Caithness that named everything to the south "The Southlands" which is how Sutherland came by it's name.


The beaches along the coast of Scotland coast are amongst the most breathtaking and beautiful in Europe.
Their character and attraction changes throughout the seasons, so try and visit whatever the time of year.

Historical Interest

The area is steeped in history, and many of the attractions are open to visitors.

Click on the links below to find out more information and opening times.

Some of the best mountain biking in the Highlands.
Right on your doorstep.
Scotland and the Highlands in particular, have some of the best mountain biking anywhere.
Lairg is well placed to allow enthusiasts access to much of this exceptional terrain. There are miles of forestry and moorland tracks available to explore.

There is a very laid-back 'ride-anywhere' philosophy in Scotland, the mountains and moors are there for the riding. Please may we ask that you always follow the Access Code and the Scottish Outdoor Access Code?
Kyle of Sutherland Trails
These two local mountain biking trails are just south of Lairg and lie either side of the of the Kyle, about a ten minute drive.

The scenery, as with all of the highland trails, is breathtaking and the trails offer terrain to test the most proficient of rider.

Carbisdale offers easier mountain bike riding and offers shorter routes than Balblair, but still offers some challenging riding from both the technical and fitness point of view.
At Balblair there are technically two mountain biking trails, a blue and a black run. The Blue run, however, is really the beginning and end of the Black run with a link to shorten the ride to about 3 Km. The Black mountain bike run has a choice of 7.5 Km or 11 Km.

The black route is a demanding ride with plenty of uphill grind and technical rock and north shore features. The rocks and north shore are very grippy so don't let a bit of rainfall put you off.
Fitness is very important if you are going for the long black in particular.

You may like to refer to some of the following resources when planning your cycling trip to Lairg.