Designated Bathing Waters

Under the terms of the EC Bathing Water Directive's provisions, the Scottish Government designates Bathing Water sites where it is considered that there may be a peak of 150 people or more on a beach during a single day. Map of Designated Bathing Waters in Argyll and Bute

The Directive requires that water quality at all designated bathing waters meets stringent microbiological standards in order to protect the health of people who choose to bathe there.

In Argyll and Bute there are 4 designated bathing waters and the Council, in partnership with other organisations, plays a role in monitoring the bathing waters and adjacent shores.  The four bathing waters are:

Ettrick Bay, Isle of Bute

Ganavan Bay, Firth of Lorn,

Luss Bay, Loch Lomond

Machrihanish, Kintyre

SEPA take water samples at each bathing water throughout the bathing season (1 June to 15 September) to check the water quality.  The bathing water can be classified as meeting the Mandatory (minimum) or Guideline (higher) standard, the class of each bathing water will depend on the results over the entire season. Further details on the monitoring regime, sample results and beach classifications can be found on SEPA’s website

On occasions lochs, burns, ponds, reservoirs and other freshwater or brackish waters can be affected by blue green algae, for more information please see our section on blue green algae.

Please direct any comments or complaints about designated bathing waters in Argyll and Bute to; Environmental Protection Officer, Argyll and Bute Council, Kilmory, Lochgilphead PA31 8RT, Tel 01546 604421. 

Please telephone 01546 605514 to raise issues relating to litter etc. on all other beaches or shorelines not related to designated bathing waters.

 The following websites provide further information on beaches and bathing waters: