Scotland's cleanest beaches win awards

image copyrightChris Reekie
image captionChris Reekie photographed St Andrews West Sands beach at sunrise

Some of Scotland's most popular beaches, as well as a number of little-known gems, have been recognised for their high standards.

A total of 61 beaches have achieved Scottish Beach Award status in 2019, in recognition of their cleanliness, amenities and water quality data.

Among the winners are St Andrews West Sands and Gullane Bents which have made the list for each of the last 27 years.

Irvine beach - front shore has made the list for the first time in 10 years.

Dunbar east beach in East Lothian has fallen off the list.

image copyrightSarah Ridley
image captionSarah Ridley was flying a kite on Gullane beach in East Lothian
image copyrightMartin Geddes
image captionIrvine beach is on the list for the first time since 2009 - Martin Geddes snapped this view through the dunes.

The annual Scottish Beach Awards recognise the best beaches across the country and act as the national benchmark for local environmental quality.

This year Fife's coastline once again has the most awards, as it is home to 14 winning beaches.

The Highlands was second, with 12 successful award winners. They include Nairn central and Dornoch beaches, award winners since 1994 and 1995 respectively.

image copyrightAlex Grant
image captionAlex Grant had Achmelvich beach in the Highlands all to himself when he took this picture

Keep Scotland Beautiful, the environmental charity which organises the scheme, said 54 beaches have held on to their awards for five or more consecutive years.

Its chief executive, Derek Robertson, said: "With the country set to mark 2020 as Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters, it is only right that we celebrate the achievements of communities, organisations and local authorities across the country in making sure that our beaches provide visitors with the fantastic shoreline experience that they deserve.

"Scotland's coastlines and waters attract thousands of visitors every year. These beach users can be assured that where they see the Scottish Beach Award flag they will have the experience they are looking for: a clean beach, excellent amenities and signposting about the local area, as well as information about water quality."

image copyrightLisa Stewart
image captionLisa Stewart enjoyed fabulous views at Lunan Bay in Angus - in receipt of a beach award every year since 2017
image copyrightEuan Campbell
image captionCollieston harbour in Aberdeenshire had an air of the Scottish Riviera when Euan Campbell took this photograph

For a beach to be successful in achieving a beach award, it has to meet a range of criteria, including beach safety, access and facilities, and cleanliness.

VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead, said Scotland's waters were "greatly valued and cherished by communities and visitors alike".

"Thanks to Keep Scotland Beautiful and the passion from a range of organisations, local authorities and individuals to achieve recognition through the Scottish Beach Awards - both visitors and locals can enjoy a wide range of spectacular environmentally considerate beach settings across the country," he added.

image copyrightLesley McLaughlin
image captionColdingham Bay in Scottish Borders has been on the list since 2007 - this atmospheric image was taken by Lesley McLaughlin
image copyrightAlan Wallace
image captionPrestwick beach in Ayrshire received its first award in 2018 - but it has retained it in 2019
image copyrightFrances Menter
image captionBreagh the Westie posed for a photograph by Frances Menter in this photo of Broughty Ferry beach

You can send us your beach pictures - or any other great shots from around Scotland - for our weekly gallery here.

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