The Falls of Shin Waterfall and Salmon Leaping

Written by Chris Thornton | 10th of May 2023
Falls of Shin

The Falls of Shin is a beautiful waterfall on the River Shin in north Scotland, not far from Bonar Bridge. It is a fantastic place to view the majestic Atlantic Salmon leap up the waterfall on their journey upstream to their spawning areas. Visitor attractions also include a dedicated visitor centre with a restaurant and gift shop, playparks, mini golf and forest walks.

Salmon Leaping

There is a dedicated viewing platform right next to the Falls of Shin where you can get the perfect angle for a photo of the leaping Salmon. The Salmon aren't always successful on their first attempt and will keep trying until they reach the upper level of the falls. The falls are a raging torrent of water, it's surprising that any of them make it!

Plan your visit between May and September for the best chance to see the salmon leap.

Salmon Leaping

Falls of Shin Visitor Centre

The Falls of Shin Visitor Centre is well worth a visit on your trip to the Falls of Shin. As you make your way up to the centre, there are various information boards describing the history of the area and, of course, about the Salmon leaping up the falls.  There is free admission to all areas, including the falls.

Inside there is a restaurant and a small gift shop. The food at the restaurant is fantastic and showcases the best Scotland has to offer; operated by Mac and Wild, the meat is sourced locally from Ardgay Game. You can really taste the difference in food quality, it might be a tad more expensive than a standard cafe, but it's worth it!

The gift shop has many lovely high-end items for purchase, again expensive but quality items.

Outside is a great mini golf course and large play area; kids will love it here!

The large car park is free, and there are no time restrictions; there are some EV car charging stations. There is overnight parking provided for motorhomes and campervans.

Falls of Shin visitor centre.
The girls posing for a photo, visitor centre in the background.
Falls of Shin restaurant.
Olivia enjoying her chips in the restaurant..
Falls of Shin play park
Having fun on the see saw.

Falls of Shin 2013 Fire

Originally the centre was owned by Harrods boss Mohamed Al-Fayed but was destroyed in 2013 by a fire. The first Falls of Shin visitor attraction was much bigger, but the new centre is very nice too if smaller. The new centre was developed by the community group Kyle of Sutherland Development Trust, which replaced the centre in 2017 and created new job opportunities.

Falls of Shin main waterfall | Shin Falls

Woodland Walks at Falls of Shin

As a Falls of Shin visitor, you must try the great forest walking trails through the pine forest near the visitor attraction developed by the Forestry Commission. The woodland walks are fairly short, and the paths well trodden.

How do I get to the Falls of Shin visitor centre?

Depending on where you are coming from, either head south 4.6 miles from Lairg along the B864 or 5.9 miles north from Bonar Bridge on the A836. From Dornoch, travel along the A9 until you reach the A949 and then on to Bonar Bridge. You can use IV27 4EE for your sat nav, but this is some distance north of the centre.

Follow the single-track road through Achany Glen, which follows the River Shin. You will eventually see the visitor attraction and shin car park.

FAQs on the Falls of Shin

Here are a few frequently asked questions on the Falls of Shin.

What are the Falls of Shin?

The Falls of Shin is a popular tourist attraction located in the Scottish Highlands. It is a series of waterfalls on the River Shin, known for its spectacular natural beauty and as a viewing spot for Atlantic salmon leaping upstream during their spawning season.

Is there an admission fee to visit the Falls of Shin?

There is no charge to use the car park, visit the falls or the visitor centre. The play area and forest walks are free too.

Is the waterfall viewing platform accessible?

Not really; there is a long meandering path down to the falls, which includes slopes and steps. I think it would be hard going to get a wheelchair down to the viewing platform and even harder getting back up.

Falls of Shin viewing platform.
The waterfall viewing platform.

Are there electric car charge points available?

Yes, there is a charging station at the far end of the car park, closest to the visitor centre.

Can I swim in the Falls of Shin?

Swimming at the Falls of Shin is not recommended due to the strong currents and the risk of injury from the waterfall and rocks. Visitors are encouraged to enjoy the natural beauty from the designated viewing area.

Key information on the Falls of Shin

  • The Falls of Shin is an impressive waterfall in north Scotland.

  • The falls have a brilliant visitor centre right next to it, offering information, food and gifts.

  • There is a great play park, forest walks and crazy golf onsite.

  • The waterfall has a dedicated viewing platform with a railing.

  • It's possible to see salmon leaping up the waterfall between May and September.

  • Free to visit and always open.

  • The visitor centre was destroyed in a fire in 2013 but was rebuilt in 2017.

  • Once owned by Mohamed Al-Fayed.

Falls of Shin
Janette back in 2005 at the Falls of Shin.


All in all the Falls of Shin is a fantastic visitor attraction and well worth your time if you are staying locally at Lairg, Tain, Dornoch and Golspie.

Another great waterfall is further south, closer to Inverness called Rogie Falls.

Map of Falls of Shin location

All information was correct at the time of writing, please check things like entry costs and opening times before you arrive.

Claim Your Free 6 Day Travel Itinerary:

Simply enter your email and we'll send it your way!

Free Scotland travel itinerary

Hi, please leave a comment below, or why not start a discussion on the forum?