Coordinates: 58°01′N 4°24′W / 58.02°N 4.40°W / 58.02; -4.40
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Lairg is located in Sutherland
Location within the Sutherland area
Population891 (2011 census)
OS grid referenceNC582064
• Edinburgh150 mi (241 km)
• London481 mi (774 km)
Council area
Lieutenancy area
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townLAIRG
Postcode districtIV27
Dialling code01549
UK Parliament
Scottish Parliament
List of places
58°01′N 4°24′W / 58.02°N 4.40°W / 58.02; -4.40
The village of Lairg

Lairg (Scottish Gaelic: An Luirg, meaning "the shank/shin")[1] is a village and parish in Sutherland, Scotland.[2] It has a population of 891[3] and is at the south-eastern end of Loch Shin.

Lairg is unusual in the northern Highlands in being a large settlement that is not on the coast. One of the reasons that Lairg is slightly bigger than other non-coastal Highland villages is its central location within the county of Sutherland. Having four roads which meet in the village, it used to be known as "The Crossroads of the North". In the 19th century, it was provided with a railway station (at NC582039), on what is now the Far North Line. This development means that the north-west of Sutherland is now easier to reach. (The Far North Line links Inverness in the south with Thurso and Wick in the north.)

Sheep sales[edit]

Lairg is the location of the largest single-day sheep sale in Europe. These auctions take place in August and bring people from all over Scotland to buy or sell their animals.

Gala Week[edit]

In July, Lairg holds a Gala Week. This is organised by a local committee in order to put on fun activities for adults and children. Events include fancy-dress parades, a pet show, fishing competitions on Loch Shin or the Little Loch Shin, and dances with live music in the community centre.

Lairg Crofters' Show[edit]

This one-day event has been running for 100 years. It attracts many spectators and participants for activities such as horse-jumping, sheep and cow judging, children's sports, Highland sports (e.g. tossing the caber, throwing the wellie/haggis) and homemade crafts. Sheep racing has even become a significant attraction in recent years.

Little Loch Shin[edit]

Little Loch Shin lies directly in the centre of the village. It is a manmade loch created by the hydroelectric dam scheme, and is the home of the "Broon's hoose", a small, wooden dwelling on an islet. Loch Shin itself lies to the north of Lairg and is 17 miles (27 km) long.


Lairg has a petrol station, pub/hotel, post office, bank, caravan site, primary school, tourist information centre, and various shops, cafes and B&Bs. Tourists attractions include the Shin Falls, fishing, sightseeing and hillwalking.


Lairg railway station lies on the picturesque Far North Line, north of Invershin and west of Rogart. It is managed by ScotRail.

A proposal on the rail routes to the north of Inverness is to create a more direct rail from Inverness to Dornoch via a new bridge and an old branch line, which would leave Lairg isolated on a circuitous loop away from the main route. Although the link would shorten journey times to Thurso and Wick, reducing the rail service to Lairg would be detrimental to the local economy. Given the huge cost of building a rail bridge over the Dornoch Firth and both the Scottish government and the Highland Regional council's lack of enthusiasm for the project, it seems unlikely the proposal will become reality.[4]

The B864 road leads south and passes through the hamlet of Achany. The parallel A836 road also runs south to Bonar Bridge, and passes through the village of Achinduich. The areas to the north and west are sparsely populated and crossed by just three single track roads.

Impact crater[edit]

Lairg is prospectively the site of the fifteenth largest impact crater on Earth, the Lairg Gravity Low which dates from 1.2 billion years ago and is 25 miles (40 km) across.[5]

Evidence for a bolide impact centered on Ullapool was published by a combined team of scientists from the University of Oxford and the University of Aberdeen, in March 2008.[6]

IV27 (Lairg) postcode area[edit]

IV27, with Lairg as its postal town, is the largest postcode area in the United Kingdom, at 1,393 square miles (3,608 km2). It covers a vast area of far north west Scotland, including Lochinver, Cape Wrath and Tongue.[7]

People associated with Lairg[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gaelic and Norse in the Landscape: Placenames in Caithness and Sutherland Archived 21 September 2011 at the Wayback Machine. Scottish National Heritage.
  2. ^ Gittings, Bruce; Munro, David. "Lairg, Highland". The Gazetteer for Scotland. School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh and The Royal Scottish Geographical Society. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  3. ^ GROS. "Standard Outputs - Census Data Explorer - Scotland's Census".
  4. ^ "Council giving short shrift to rail, claims union". Archived from the original on 7 November 2017. Retrieved 15 September 2012.
  5. ^ "Ancient meteorite crater mapped". 14 September 2016 – via
  6. ^ "Britain's biggest meteorite impact found" (Press release). University of Aberdeen. 26 March 2008. Retrieved 22 March 2015.
  7. ^ "All you need to know about postcodes but were afraid to ask". Retrieved 13 August 2021.

External links[edit]