MILLPORT'S Newton Beach has scooped a prestigious national award - for the eighth year running.

The much-loved attraction managed to maintain its status as one of Keep Scotland Beautiful's top rated beaches, providing a welcome tourism boost ahead of the summer season.

Although North Ayrshire boasts a host of famous seaside resorts such as Largs and Saltcoats, Millport is only one of two which can boast success at the annual awards this year.

Signalling the start of the traditional Scottish bathing season, the Scottish Beach Awards celebrate the best beaches in the country and has acted as the national benchmark for local environmental quality for a quarter of a century.

Keep Scotland Beautiful chief executive Derek Robertson said: “With the country set to mark 2020 as Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, it is only right that we celebrate the achievements of communities, organisations and local authorities across the country in making sure that our beaches provide visitors with the fantastic shoreline experience that they deserve.

"Scotland’s coastlines and waters attract thousands of visitors every year.

"These beach users can be assured that where they see the Scottish Beach Award flag they will have the experience they are looking for: a clean beach, excellent amenities and signposting about

the local area, as well as information about water quality.”

There a total of 30 individual criteria points to be won, categorised as ‘major’, ‘minor’ or ‘best practice’.

To gain and maintain an award, beaches must, fulfil the requirements of all major criteria, have no more than three counts of non-compliance to minor criteria and demonstrate ongoing commitment to improving best practice.

Judges look at information provision, water quality information, beach safety, management, access and facilities and cleanliness.

A total of 61 beaches across Scotland will be able to wave the flag, with Irvine the only other in North Ayrshire to have won the accolade.