Northton Salt Flats

Northton salt flats is a small salt water lagoon separated from the sea at low tide by the extensive sands of Scarista Beach towards the southern end of the Isle of Harris .  At the head of the lagoon the water is broken up by a series of small islets and channels which provides lots of composition opportunities for photographers. What makes this area especially photogenic is the 1200ft hill of Ceapabhall which rises above the flats to provide a fine focal point with the added bonus that is often reflected in the still waters of the lagoon. The salt flats face west, so the hill catches the early morning sunlight, but the best time of day is probably in the evening with the colours of sunset illuminating the sky behind Ceapabhall.

Location and Parking

Post Code: HS3 3JA

The A859 is the main road running south from Tarbert. After 4 miles it turns west to reach the west coat of Harris and for the next 10 miles it follows the coast line, passing several several beaches along the way. The final and largest beach is Scarasta Beach, and here the road turns inland with the extensive flat sandy bay of Scarasta on the right. Eventually, at the head of the bay, a small area of islets and water channels can be seen, which is the salt flats. There is no designated parking space, so the only option is to park in a passing place, but as the road is quiet this is unlikely to cause too many problems.

Sunshine On The Salt Flats

During the daytime, the patterns of islands and channels provide some composition opportunities, with Ceapabhall providing the backdrop.

Northton Salt Flats By Day

Sunset At The Salt Flats

As the salt flats face west, the best time of day to photograph them is at sunset. A combination of soft evening light and long exposures to smooth the water can be used to capture reflections of Ceapabhall. It is important with this composition to find a spot where the outline reflection of the hill can be captured without interruption from the islands.

Sunset At Northton Salt Flats

A portrait view can be used to show more of the water channel between the islands.

Channels at Northton Salt Flats

Alternatively, a composition that features one of the islands can be tried, which lends itself to a more panoramic view.

Northton Salt Flats Panorama

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