Beaches across Scotland have been recognised for high standards of cleanliness, safety and water quality.
Keep Scotland Beautiful, the country’s charity for the environment, has awarded 61 beaches with the Seaside Award status. Eight will also be able to fly the internationally-acclaimed Blue Flag.
This year’s total equals the previous record number of such awards given out by the charity. All beaches must be put forward for an award and the application process involves a national beach jury meeting to approve candidates based on their applications as well as the assessment visit from the previous year.
Beaches in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyll and Bute, Edinburgh, Dundee, East Lothian, Fife, the Highlands, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, the Scottish Borders and the Shetland Islands have been recognised in the awards.
The Blue Flag has been awarded to beaches in Dundee, Fife and the Borders including Broughty Ferry, Dundee, Aberdour Silver Sands, Fife, Burntisland, Fife, Elie Harbour Beach, Fife, Elie Ruby Bay, Fife, Kinghorn, Fife, Leven, Fife, and Coldingham in the Scottish Borders.
Beaches in St Andrews, the West Sands and East Sands have lost the coveted Blue Flag status due to high standards of water quality not being met.
Meanwhile Portobello beach in Edinburgh and Dunbar East beach in East Lothian have been recognised with a Seaside Award for the first time.
Seaside Award beaches are split into two categories, Rural (15 criteria) and Resort (30 criteria). Award criteria address several themes including water quality, safety, cleanliness, management and information provision.
Blue Flag beaches must achieve 32 criteria including ‘Guideline’ water quality and the provision of environmental education initiatives. There are 46 countries worldwide whose beaches are recognised by the Blue Flag award.
Our interactive map gives an exact location of all 61 award-winning beaches. The Blue Flag beaches are marked with a blue flag, resort beaches are in red, and rural beaches are in green.
View Scotland's Best Beaches, 2012 in a larger map
Derek Robertson, Keep Scotland Beautiful’s chief executive, said: “With an increasing number of people choosing to take their holidays at home in Scotland, there has never been a better time to enjoy your local beach. The Seaside and Blue Flag Awards highlight that these beaches are an important resource to the local economy and that they are your beaches to enjoy.
“There is something for everyone amongst this year’s winners, from large beaches with lifeguarded swimming areas and bustling promenades, to secluded bays which are havens for wildlife, and windswept beaches perfect for wind and kite surfing.”
He added: “Over the last 12 years, the number of Seaside Awards in Scotland has more than quadrupled. There were just 13 in 2000, so I would like to pay tribute to all the hard work that goes in to achieving and keeping these awards by local authorities and communities, and I would encourage everyone, particularly in this economic climate, to make use of the fantastic beaches we have around the Scottish coast this summer."
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