The blue flag people have announced their list of the "best" beaches in England, Wales and Northern Island for this year. The Scottish list comes out in a few weeks.
The criteria for listing includes waste bins, toilets, lifeguards, and various other facilities. As the BBC news story says, "So if deserted beaches are for you, the Blue Flag is not an indication of quality."
In 2005, the number of beaches awarded a blue flag in Scotland was ... 7. Did the assessors allocate half a day to checking out Scotland's beaches? Or was it the lack of adjoining amusement parks, and other "facilities" that put them off?
Also in 2005, they awarded the beach at Bournemouth the title of the cleanest beach. Huh?
Here's a picture of the beach at Bournemouth, which apparently gets up to 100,000 visitors a day.
Now here's a picture of the beach at Scarista on Harris:
Which strikes you as being cleaner?
At least one person has some intelligence:
"Simon Calder, the Travel Editor of The Independent, believes Britain's best beaches are found in the Western Isles in Scotland.
He praised them for having the 'purest, clearest' water as well as 'dramatic seascapes', adding that they were 'probably the best in the world'.
'If you ignore the temperatures, you will find probably everything you would look for in a beach, from the quality of the sand to the pure, beautiful clarity of the water,' said Mr Calder."