The sun was shining on the north-east’s coastline yesterday as nine stretches of sand were named among the most beautiful and best equipped beaches in Scotland.
Eight Aberdeenshire sites and Aberdeen’s famous Ballroom Beach received the prestigious Scotland’s Beach Award.
The new title celebrates the nation’s best managed sands and recognises qualities, such as litter-free sand, visitor information and toilet provision.
Focused on the quality of the local environment, the awards hope to complement the work of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) on water quality.
Last night, Derek Robertson, chief executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, said: “Beaches are an important asset to communities and their economies.
“As year-round facilities, it is vital our coastlines are maintained to the highest standards and keep attracting visitors from near and far.”
Mr Robertson added it was “greatly encouraging” that so many beaches had reached award-standard in the competition’s first year.
He said: “Environmental quality needs priority attention and we will continue our work to support organisations to ensure that Scotland’s coastline offers a great day out.
The Aberdeenshire beaches which claimed the titles were Balmedie, Collieston, Cruden Bay, Fraserburgh, Fraserburgh Waters of Philorth, Inverboyndie, Peterhead Lido and Stonehaven.
Jo Robinson, VisitScotland’s regional director, said the awards reflected the “high quality experience visitors can expect when taking a trip to the seaside”.
“Scotland’s landscape and scenery plays an important role in tourism and remains the top attraction for domestic and international visitors.
“That is, in no small part, due to the thousands of miles of stunning coastline and its incredible array of beautiful beaches.”
A spokesperson for the local council was equally effusive, saying: “Aberdeenshire is famed for its beautiful coastline and we are pleased that some of our most popular beaches have been recognised with a Beach Award.
“All of these great beaches form part of Aberdeenshire’s famous Coastal Trail, which National Geographic magazine rated as one of the most scenic coasts in the world.”
A map showing all the award-winning beaches with directions, facilities and pictures can be found at: www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/beach