Gold Panning in the Scottish Highlands
Gold Panning in the Scottish Highlands

Gold Panning in the Scottish Highlands

Have you ever wanted to hunt for your own treasure and find diamonds in the rough? How about Gold? Why not head over to Suisgill Estate and get ready for some gold panning! This recreational activity follows strict rules and is permitted on two of the burns found on the Suisgill Estate. Your own little treasures are waiting for you to be discovered!

Where can I try Gold Panning in the Scottish Highlands?

Kildonan burn, located at the site of Baile an Or in the Suisgill Estate, offers a small stretch of the burn to anyone looking to pan for gold for a maximum of 2 weeks annually for a small fee. There is also a second burn that visitors may use for gold panning, although the Suisgill burn is only available to guests who are staying at Balvallioch cottage or Upper Suisgill Lodge on the estate.

In 1868, a local man discovered a large amount of gold in the Kildonan and Suisgill burns, this led to Suisgill Estate becoming the centre of the “Great Sutherland Gold Rush” and attracted flocks of travellers to try out their luck to find riches. Although this gold rush was relatively short-lived, recreational gold panning is still permitted in selected areas of the estate, and visitors are encouraged to come and try their hand at the activity!

Permits are required for gold panning, with the easiest way of acquiring one is to visit Glencoast, The Garrison, and The Belgrave Arms in Helmsdale. Permits can also be bought from the Suisgill Estate directly.

As well as a permit, visitors will need equipment for gold panning. In order to protect the burns, the permitted equipment for panning is limited to a pan, a hand sieve, a hand trowel, a small spade, and a gravel pump. Gold panning kits can be hired from Timespan Museum and The Garrison in Helmsdale and can also be purchased online from Gold Panning Supplies UK.

  • Permit required
  • Equipment not provided  (see above for info on where to find equipment)
  • Gold panning is allowed between the 15th of April and the 1st of October
  • Maximum of 2 weeks panning per person per year (taken in no more than 2 periods)
  • Free camping available on the estate
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