Beaches across the north and north-east have been granted Scotland’s Beach Award which celebrates clean, well-managed and sustainable beaches.
The award is run by Keep Scotland Beautiful, and they have recognised 52 beaches across the country.
Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City boast nine of the celebrated spots while Angus has six, the Highlands have five and Shetland two.
Convener of Highland Council Bill Lobban said: “I am absolutely delighted that the successful coast management and excellent quality of these Highland beaches has been nationally recognised.
“I encourage everyone, whatever the weather, to get out and enjoy exploring these award-winning beaches and all the other fantastic ones we are lucky to have.”
With high temperatures forecast across the north and north-east this weekend, the awards come at the perfect time for anyone heading to the beach.
In order to be considered for the award, beaches must meet high standards across three criteria.
Access, facilities and safety covers areas like accessibility, parking facilities, risk assessment and clear signage.
Local environment quality includes water quality, control of camping and the handling of litter, graffiti or pollution.
Communities and heritage focuses on supporting links to the local community, marine conservation and promotion of nearby heritage sites.
What do you like to do at the beach? Walk the dog, build sandcastles, paddle or eat icecreams? #ScotlandsBeachAwards beaches have something for everyone. Check out your nearest at: https://t.co/WrjOnyklE3 @VisitScotland
— Keep Scotl Beautiful (@KSBScotland) May 28, 2021
While meeting these three criteria, management must also show congoing commitment to improving the beaches.
Barry Fisher, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, reminded the public that they also play a part in keeping these beaches beautiful.
He said: “As summer approaches we know that people want to reconnect with our country’s beautiful beaches. Scotland’s Beach Award is the only accreditation for beach management of its kind in Scotland – recognising our fabulous beaches and driving up environmental standards for residents and visitors alike.
“It’s thanks to the incredible work of those local authorities, charities and communities that we are able to experience these clean beaches with excellent amenities and information about water quality.
“I personally would like to say a massive thank you to them for keeping Scotland’s beaches beautiful and remind everyone who enjoys them to leave only footprints and take their litter home.”
“We are very pleased to have been awarded this great accolade”
Loch Morlich, near Aviemore, is the only fresh-water winner and also the highest awarded beach in the UK. It is managed by Forestry Land Scotland.
Maree Morrison, recreation ranger for FLS, said: “Nestled among stunning views of the mountains and forests, Loch Morlich’s beach – the highest in the UK – is quite unique.
“It’s also an area designated for environmental protection so it’s quite a privilege – and a challenge – for us and our ranger colleagues at Cairngorm National Park to be responsible for managing this amazing site.
“The beach award recognises our combined efforts, and we are very pleased to have been awarded this great accolade.”
Each beach is assessed annually to decide whether or not they can keep their award status. Nairn Beach has upheld its award since 1994.