The public will be able to paddle and swim at one of South Ayrshire's beaches without fearing for the quality of the water as it has now been declared as meeting strict environmental standards.

The beach at Barassie has been designated an official bathing water following a decision by Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan MSP, bringing the total of such areas in Scotland up to 87.

The application for bathing water status was submitted by Friends of Troon Beaches with support from South Ayrshire Council. They have accepeted a range of duties as a condition of the designation.

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

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) takes samples from bathing waters around the country to check for suitability for swimming.

Lower Largo in Fife has also been newly designated as a bathing water for 2022.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan 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, SEPA’s interim head of water and planning, added: “Scotland's natural environment is world renowned. 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 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. SEPA's specialist teams will take samples at all our bathing waters throughout the season, providing water quality information for all those who wish to visit."

Any organisation or individual can put forward a bathing water to be considered for designation.

Applicants need to provide good information about the number of beach users, both in and around the water, throughout the bathing season. This is usually in the form of photographic evidence of people in the water or a survey of user numbers.