Lorraine Kelly credits Glasgow in her new book

LORRAINE Kelly is the UK's longest-serving breakfast TV presenter and fast approaching national treasure status - but she reckons she might never had made it if she hadn't been born in Glasgow.

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Lorraine is passionate about Scotland
Lorraine is passionate about Scotland

The broadcaster and writer - who recently announced she is leaving ITV's Daybreak to concentrate on her own show - says growing up in the East End is one of the main reasons she became a journalist.

"Glaswegians are inquisitive and more than a wee bit cheeky," she explains in her new book, Lorraine Kelly's Scotland.

"If you are waiting in the queue for a bus, it won't be long before a wee woman who is 'aff her heid with her feet' will be telling you her life story - and she'll be expecting you to follow suit.

"Take a taxi in Glasgow and be prepared to be quizzed on everything from football to politics.

"It's one of the many things I love about this ballsy, brash but big-hearted city."

Glasgow is one of several destinations Lorraine talks about in the book, which features a collection of stunning photographs and family snaps taken by her husband Steve.

"It really started out as a book of photos, but my captions kept getting longer and longer," she laughs.

"It's not a definitive travel guide to Scotland, not in the slightest. It's about the places that mean something to me.

"I was incredibly lucky when I became TV-am's Scottish correspondent, because I got to visit lots of places I might not have seen otherwise.

"It was a real adventure and it's been fun going back for the book. And we are so much better now at welcoming visitors - we stayed in some lovely, cosy B&Bs, and ate wonderful food. The hospitality is amazing."

Lorraine's adopted home Dundee, Orkney and the Western Isles are all included in the book, which is part travel guide, part-history book and part autobiography.

Facts about Scotland's heritage and culture are peppered with funny, warm stories from Lorraine's family life - like the time she went monster-hunting at Loch Ness with her daughter Rosie; visiting the People's Palace on Glasgow Green; and realising her dream of visiting the remote island of St Kilda.

"There are some parts of the world that tug at your heartstrings and ever since I became aware of its existence, St Kilda has sung to me, siren-like," Lorraine explains.

"I was lucky to get there last year and it is one of the most unforgettable places I have ever been."

In Glasgow, Lorraine decided to take an open-topped bus tour.

"It was a hoot - I learned so much and was reminded of so many things I'd forgotten about the city," she smiles.

"It's a fantastic place and it is transforming itself, much in the way it did for the Garden Festival and the City of Culture celebrations, for the Commonwealth Games."

Lorraine's parents set up home in the Gorbals and then moved to Bridgeton, to a room and kitchen.

"My mum and dad and me and my baby brother Graham shared a bedroom, but we did have the luxury of an inside loo," she says.

"The tenement we lived in on Swanston Street was razed to the ground in the 1970s and it's hard to get your bearings as even the layout of the streets has changed. It looks incredible now.

"The Games will bring a wonderful legacy to the east end, and to Glasgow as a whole."

Lorraine, 54, lived in the east end until she was 13, when the family moved to East Kilbride.

After her spell on the East Kilbride News, she worked for BBC Scotland and then TV-am, before joining GMTV in 1993.

She recently quit Daybreak, which she presented with Aled Jones before, "sprinting across the studio while the weather was being read out," to host her own morning show, Lorraine.

The latter will now run five days a week instead of four.

"I'm really excited about it,," she says.

"Daybreak was never meant to be forever for me, it was about keeping the ship on a steady course until the next big idea. I loved it, but it meant I couldn't be quite as hands on with my own show as I would have liked.

"And the hours were difficult - I'm already up at 3.45am, so to continue with Daybreak I'd have been up at 2.30am and there comes a time when you just think - something has to give."

Lorraine has said in the past that she can't imagine retiring, but in her book, she reveals a longing to "escape" to Scotland more often.

"Scotland is where I am happiest," she says.

"I can be myself.

"There's a standing joke in the office, if I'm stressed and things are not going right, or a guest hasn't turned up or whatever, that it's time for me to run away to Orkney and open a sweetie shop."

Lorraine adds: "But I love what I do and I love the buzz and excitement of London (although I have the social life of a toddler, doing the job I do).

"And then I come home and can be in the most beautiful, peaceful countryside in half an hour. I love Scotland, and I hope people get that when they read the book. For me, it's all about friends, family, shared experiences...and, most important of all, the comfort of being 'home'."

n Lorraine Kelly's Scotland (£16.99, Bantam Press) is available now.

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