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New operators plan 'vibrant and exciting' reopening for recently sold Falls of Shin Visitor Centre

By Niall Harkiss

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The new operators of Falls of Shin Visitor Centre cannot wait to see the attraction "come back to life" ahead of its much anticipated March reopening.

The recently established Salmon and Salt Company took charge of the venue last month, after it was sold to holiday park operator Pure Leisure Group.

Tom Bannerman and Annie Rose Munro
Tom Bannerman and Annie Rose Munro

The firm says it has big plans to turn the former community-owned centre, which boasts a restaurant, cafe and gift shop, into a "vibrant" and "exciting" venue which can be used all-year-round.

Owner Tom Bannerman, who originally grew up near Invergordon, is joined by partner and Sutherland-native Annie Rose Munro in taking the reigns.

The couple, both aged 25, admit that running the popular tourist hotspot will pose a new challenge, but are confident that their strong links to Sutherland – and the Falls of Shin – will stand them in good stead as they prepare to reopen its doors.

Mr Bannerman said: "We knew when making the company, our identity had to reflect Sutherland's history as well as the salmon’s incredibly journey up the River Shin. The “Salt” in our name is a nod to the old salt houses throughout Sutherland, as well as connecting our love of cooking to the salmon’s journey of salt water to fresh water.

"The Falls of Shin is also a very memorable place for the Munro family as they spent much time here, with (Annie's Rose's brother) Cameron becoming known as 'the dinosaur boy' after he went missing during a hunt for dinosaurs deep within the woods at the Falls of Shin.

"Annie Rose’s family business will allow us to source local organic sustainable venison that will most definitely be on the menu. She has a love for local produce and wants to support other local businesses, this drives our ethos ‘eat local’ and ‘shop local’ as we plan to reopen the gift shop."

The couple, who both have experience in catering having spent their summer holidays working in the industry whilst studying at university, admitted they were sad to see the Falls of Shin Visitor Centre closed for such a long period.

Falls of Shin
Falls of Shin

Mr Bannerman added: "It's such a unique and incredible venue. It is a significant change from what we were previously doing, but we are prepared to dive right into it. We just decided that we would love to take on the challenge, to create a venue for all ages and various events.

"Growing up in the rural Highlands, there were very few opportunities for young people. Because of this, we are looking to host specific events for young adults and children as well as other demographics.

"We're looking to create a vibrant, exciting venue that can be used for an array of events throughout the year, not just for visitors in the high season. This will include live music, local markets, and the opportunity for private hire such as birthdays and weddings.

"We have lots of ideas going forward and are very excited about seeing them coming to life. This has included a redecoration of the inside of the building to reflect the Salt & Salmon Company and we are looking forward to opening our doors to the public.

"We would like to thank everyone for the incredible support and kind words since we have started our journey. We very much look forward to welcoming everyone throughout our community to The Falls of Shin when we open in March."

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