Wester Ross

west ross-shire fishing, north coast 500

There is a subtle shift in geology and topography in West Ross-shire, or Wester Ross as it is known locally, compared to West Sutherland to its north. Torridonian sandstone is more dominant compared with Lewisian gneiss, resulting in ranges of mountains, rather than individual peaks. Another outcome of this, is that there are less lochs.

There are plenty in the Gairloch area though which is renowned for its hill lochs, attracting active anglers prepared to ‘walk-in’. For many this is the ultimate wild fishing experience combining hill walking in majestic scenery with wild brown trout fishing, but there are also lochs with easier access.

The Gairloch Angling Club waters are a good place to start, as not only do they offer permits for the Gairloch Hill Lochs, but they also have some roadside lochs including Tollaidh and Bad an Scalaig.

loch coulin
Loch Coulin

Permits are also available in the village for other Gairloch Estate hill lochs, including Loch na h-Oidche and the Gorm lochs, but these involve some serious hiking. Further south is the Shieldaig Lodge Hotel which offers visitors trout fishing on the Shieldaig Estate lochs, though hotel guests will have priority. These include an excellent group of hill lochs just above the hotel known as the Fairy lochs.  Find more about Weather in Gairloch, UK

To the north of Gairloch, there are several lochs around Poolewe controlled by Letterewe Estate, including the famous Fionn loch, but these are reserved for Estate guests. Further north is Aultbea Estate, where there are numerous lochs on offer to visitors, predominantly on the Slaggan peninsula.

Along the length of the Wester Ross coastline are a dozen or so small spate salmon rivers including the Polly, Kanaird, Ullapool, Broom, Dundonell, Gruinard & Little Gruinard, Kerry, Badachro, Torridon, Balgy, Applecross & Carron, as well as the larger River Ewe, which flows out from Loch Maree. 

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