Sun shines on the Highlands’ beach standards

Achmelvich beach is one of 12 award winning beaches in the Highlands

Clean beaches celebrated ahead of bathing season

Environmental charity, Keep Scotland Beautiful, has announced that 12 beaches from across the Highlands have been recognised for the high standards provided to users - from keeping sand litter free to providing excellent information and accessible amenities.

Signalling the start of the traditional Scottish bathing season on 1st June, with families set to flock to Scottish shorelines to make the most of the warm weather, the Scottish Beach Awards celebrate some of the best managed beaches in the country and has acted as the national benchmark for local environmental quality around Scotland’s coastline for a quarter of a century.

Flags from the 2017 awards will, from next week, be flying at 60 beaches the length and breadth of Scotland, including at St Andrews West Sands and Gullane Bents - both of which are celebrating 25 years as award winners.

Fife boasts the most award-winning beaches in 2017 with 15 awarded beaches. The Highlands have an impressive twelve. Aberdeenshire boasts eight and is closely followed by East Lothian with seven.

The Highlands award winning beaches include:

  • Achmelvich
  • Brora
  • Dornoch Beach
  • Sango Sands

Amongst the award winners is Scotland’s busiest beach in Ayr and Loch Morlich, the only freshwater, and highest sandy beach with award in Scotland.

Derek Robertson, Chief Executive of Keep Scotland Beautiful, commented:

“The Scottish Beach Awards set the standard for our stunning coastlines and inland shores - making sure that they are litter free, provide excellent facilities for families and encourage more visitors to our beautiful beaches.

“Going to the beach is a tradition that we want to continue, whilst protecting this valuable environment. It is vital that we maintain our support for organisations efforts to ensure that coastlines across the Highlands offer a great day out whilst recognising the wider benefits of a good quality environment for people’s health and wellbeing and local economies.”

Having started out as the Scottish Seaside Awards in 1993 with only two entrants, the Scottish Beach Awards have gone from strength to strength - increasing 30 fold in the past 25 years.

Convenor of The Highland Council, Councillor Bill Lobban said: “I am absolutely delighted that twelve of our stunning Highland beaches have received these prestigious seaside awards. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff that work extremely hard all year round so visitors and locals can enjoy exploring them.”


“Our scenic natural environment is one of the reasons why people visit the Highlands and the wide array of Highland beaches on both the west and the east coast are a big draw as well as being important assets for their local communities.


“Increasing numbers of overseas visitors are heading north and there is also a growing number of people choosing to take their holidays at home in Scotland so I would encourage everyone, whatever the weather, to get out and enjoy exploring these award winning beaches.”


Jack Mackay, for the Forest Enterprise Scotland team in the area, said; “For years, Loch Morlich has been a hidden gem but thanks to these awards more and more people are learning about – and coming to visit – this fantastic location.

“Winning this award helps reinforce our view that this is certainly a quite unique beach in one of Scotland’s most stunning landscapes.”

With domestic visits to seaside locations in Scotland worth over £3m per annum to the Scottish economy[1], the awards serve as a quality benchmark for the provision of facilities to visitors - from assessing toilet provision to the maintenance of beautiful promenades and the cleanliness of secluded bays.

Focussing on local environmental quality, the award is designed to complement the work currently undertaken by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency on bathing water quality.

A map showing all the award-winning beaches with directions, facilities and images can be found at


Notes to editors

  1. Keep Scotland Beautiful is the charity that campaigns, acts and educates on a range of local, national and global environmental issues to change behaviour and improve the quality of people’s lives and the places they care for. We are committed to making Scotland clean, green and more sustainable. Further details at
  2. Scotland's Beach Awards are the benchmark for quality beaches which are well managed and enjoyed by people across Scotland. Further details are available at:
  3. Media enquiries to Peter Duncan 07740 469 949 / or Kirsty Leiper 07908 781 331 /


1 Jun 2017
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