Scottish beach where swimmers can bare all joins official bathing waters

Two new Scottish sites, including a nudist beach, have been designated as official bathing waters.

The additions bring the total bathing waters across the country to 87 – the largest ever number of Scottish beaches to hold the status.

Lower Largo in Fife and Barassie in Ayr have been added to the list this year, fulfilling all the criteria necessary to achieve the grading from Scotland’s environmental regulator.

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Brave bathers can even take to the water in just their birthday suit at the Fife site, which is listed in The Beach Guide as suitable for naturists.

Two other sites were nominated, but narrowly failed to make the grade – Wardie Bay in Edinburgh and Almondell in West Lothian, which if the application had succeeded would have become the first river in Scotland to be classed as a bathing water.

As well as meeting water quality standards, proposed sites must meet three criteria – a large number of bathers must use the water; there must be community support for designation; and the local authority must be willing to accept beach management duties.

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Wardie Bay failed on beach management, while the number of people taking the plunge at Almondell was considered too low.

Lower Largo Beach has been classed as one of Scotland's officially designated Bathing Waters. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Scottish environment minister Mairi McAllan made the final decision on the four new applications.

She said: “The new Bathing Waters status for Barassie Beach and Lower Largo is great news for the local communities, and will support the large number of residents and tourists who enjoy taking a dip at these seaside locations.

“By investing in protecting and improving bathing waters across Scotland, we have made sure many more people can continue to enjoy them, with 99 per cent of bathing waters passing bathing water quality standards in 2021.”

Nathan Critchlow-Watton, interim head of water and planning for Sepa, said: “Scotland's natural environment is world-renowned.

Portobello's popular beach has designated bathing water status. Picture: Ilona Amos

“Our waters are at their best status on record and the best in the UK, including 99 per cent of bathing waters meeting strict environmental standards in 2021.

“As well as the physical and mental health benefits that being outdoors can provide, bathing waters can support local economies by encouraging visitors.

“With Lower Largo and Barassie designated for the 2022 season, Scotland now has more bathing waters than any previous year.

“This is good news for the communities, businesses and visitors that enjoy our coastlines.”

Dunbar's Belhaven beach, in East Lothian, is a magnet for swimmers and surfers and one of Scotland's 87 bathing water sites. Picture: Ilona Amos

Scotland’s official bathing water season runs between June 1 and September 15.

Water samples are tested over the full period, with results posted on the Sepa website.

Pre-season sampling is carried out during May.

People have been reminded of the importance of Scotland’s rivers, lochs, seas and beaches and how to protect them – both in the outdoors and from their homes.

Scottish Water teams deal with around 36,000 blocked pipes each year, costing households about £7 million and often causing spills of sewage.

Around 80 per cent of blockages are caused by flushing unsuitable items like nappies and wet wipes down toilets and pouring fats, oils and grease down sinks, forming ‘fatbergs’.

Discarded litter and dog poo are also a big problem for the water environment, posing a danger to wildlife and human health if left behind.

Wet and wild: 10 great places to take a dip in Scotland

Achmelvich, in the northwest Highlands

Belhaven, in East Lothian

Dhoon Bay, in Dumfries and Galloway

Dunnet, on the far north coast in Caithness and Sutherland

Ettrick Bay, on the Isle of Bute

Findhorn, on the northeast coast in Moray

Heads of Ayr, on the west coast

Luss Bay, on Loch Lomond

Loch Morlich, in the Cairngorms National Park

Sand, near Badachro in the northwest Highlands

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