See and Do In Melvich, Port Skerra and Strath Halladale

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Thu, 2009-11-26

As you venture down the Strath, you will see some lovely building made out of the local stone. The area changes quite dramatically. If you go down the Strath when the Gorse, Rowans or Laburnum is flowering/berrying you will experience the true beauty of the area.

Fishing on the River Halladale

Gold Panning at Kildonan
Kildonan is in Sutherland. If you are heading down country from Thurso, then you can either go via Melvich (down the Strath of Kildonan) or you can go down the main A9 until you reach Helmsdale and then go up the Strath until you reach Kildonan. Coming from the South, stop at Helmsdale, find the Timespan Heritage Centre (near the old bridge at Helmsdale) and take the A897 to Kildonan (about 9 miles).

Once you get there you will be asked to leave your details (Name, Address and Car Registration) on a slip of paper and to put it into the box provided. You are only allowed to pan at Kildonan for 2 weeks out of every year, and only between the bridge at Baille an Ór to the wooden bridge. You are not allowed to dig because this will cause erosion to the banks. You are also not allowed to use any mechanical devices with which to find gold.

On a beautiful day, there is nothing more peaceful or relaxing that sitting in the river on a boulder gold panning!

In Helmsdale, down at the harbour, you will find a shop that will hire out Gold Panning Equipment.

Kildonan was the site of the 1868-69 gold rush. A nugget weighing more than half an ounce was found in the burn in about 1840. It was a local man (R N Gilchrist) who first found gold in any quantity here.

How to Gold Pan and for more information about Kildonan, click here.

See link below to find more:

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