“I’ll keep going back to magical Orkney.”
Lorraine Kelly OBE was born in the Gorbals in Scotland and started off her career as a trainee reporter with a local newspaper before moving on to the BBC and, later, broadcasting for TV-am.
She made her big break on-screen after she was spotted covering the Lockerbie disaster by TV execs.
Lorraine has been a familiar face in our living rooms for more than 30 years and has interviewed countless Hollywood celebrities, from Ryan Gosling to Oprah Winfrey.
She also presents a Sunday morning radio show with Ross King and, of course, writes a weekly column for The Sunday Post.
Lorraine lives in Dundee with husband Steve and daughter Rosie and prized pooch Rocky but spends most of her week down in London, where she films for her weekday ITV show, Lorraine.
She’s a die-hard Dundee United fan and released a book, Lorraine Kelly’s Scotland, earlier this year.
“My first visit to Orkney was back in 1984 when I worked as TV-am’s Scottish correspondent. We filmed a report on the world’s shortest commercial flight, from the island of Westray to Papa Westray, a journey of less than two minutes.
I simply fell in love with this glorious part of the world and we returned from Orkney with stunning footage and stories falling out of our pockets.
There is something magical about the Orcadian light that attracts artists and photographers from all over the world, the St Magnus festival is globally recognised as a major cultural event, and if you visit once I guarantee you will come back again and again.
When my daughter Rosie was a toddler, she learned to walk on the long white beaches of Scapa Flow and the gentle grassy slopes on the island of Shapinsay.
My husband Steve and I have come for long romantic weekends, staying at the Foveran Hotel, just outside Kirkwall and The Creel in St Margaret’s Hope. The food was incredible and the welcome could not have been warmer.
We’ve walked for miles, taken trips by boat to the north islands, and watched comical puffins waddling on the cliff tops and flying out to sea.
The chessboard weather can turn from blazing sunshine to hailstones in the blink of an eye, so the wise traveller has not only a T-shirt and sunscreen, but also wellies and a woolly hat, and will probably use all of them in one afternoon.
As well as yomping across the island of Hoy to get an up close and personal view of the Old Man, my other favourite walk is in the west coast of the mainland where you find Yesnaby Castle, a two-legged sea stack. The views are amazing and the sea breeze blows all the cobwebs away.
I also enjoy pottering around the main town of Kirkwall, dominated by the red stone St Magnus cathedral, having a coffee and visiting the array of specialist shops. The islands are steeped in a history that goes back to the dawn of time.
The Ring Of Brodgar stone circle is at least 800 years older than Stonehenge.
Fast forward through the centuries to the Second World War and drive to the south of Orkney and you will cross over the famous Churchill Barriers, built to stop German U boats attacking our ships, and which now form a road that links the southern islands together.
On one of these, Lamb Holm, stands a little miracle, a stunning chapel built by Italian prisoners of war, from an old Nissen hut. It has to be seen to be believed and is a real work of art.”