Lorraine Kelly has been on holiday for a week and decided to travel to her "happy place" for the first time since the pandemic. Find out why Orkney is so special to her and her family in the TV presenter's exclusive HELLO! column below...
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As soon as it was safe to travel again, I booked my annual trip to Orkney and spent a wonderful time there last week.
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I obviously missed out last year because of Covid, but I was so grateful and happy to be able to visit a place so dear to my heart.
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We drove up this time, stopping off in Inverness and taking the ferry across for the short drive to the Foveran hotel, which has become a home from home.
Getting the ferry
We've known the owners Paul and Helen Doull for years and watched their beautiful daughters Elise and Leona grow up before our eyes. Leona, who is just eleven years old, made me a gorgeous pair of earrings and is destined to join the ranks of skilled Orkney craftsmen and women.
Lorraine and her husband Steve with friends Craig and Jacqueline
The Foveran, like many fine eating places in Orkney, is renowned for its food, using local produce including fresh lobster and Orkney beef, lamb and cheese. The view from the dining room over Scapa Flow is stunning and you can enjoy it all evening as it stays light so much longer this far north.
Lorraine and Steve posing in front of The Foveran
I can also recommend the local gins and whiskies and Orkney ales.
There's so much to see and do in Orkney that even though we've been going every year for well over two decades, we've still got a long, long list of places to visit.
Dinner with friends
This year we took the ferry to the Island of Hoy and yomped to the famous sea stack known as The Old Man of Hoy, a walk that takes in spectacular scenery and bird life.
We also took a tiny plane to tiny North Ronaldsay, the most northerly island in Orkney, which is famous for its seaweed-eating sheep. We also saw lots of fat seals and countless seabirds.
Lorraine chose lobster
I even went for a "dook" in the sea near Kirkwall, but I can't count myself as a member of the local Polar Bear club as I was wearing a wetsuit, and hardy locals shun such soft southern ways!
The presenter wore a wetsuit to take a dip in the sea
If you plan a trip, pack your bikini and sunscreen as well as wellies, jumpers and a raincoat. The weather is so changeable you can experience all the four seasons in one single morning.
I came home feeling stress-free, revitalised and I honestly can’t wait to return to my happy place.