A chat with Carol Kirkwood
TV weather presenter Carol Kirkwood is a proud Scotswoman who loves her job. So when she had the chance to join a cruise of her homeland and travel to Iceland, she jumped at the opportunity to share anecdotes about her life and career with guests.
Ahead of departure, we caught up with Carol to find out more about what she'll be chatting about and her highlights of these two incredible countries.
Tell us about what first got you into weather presenting - was there a specific time when you realised this would be your career?
I had quite a few jobs before becoming a weather presenter. My first audition was for The Weather Channel, and it was love at first sight. I got the job, received training in the channel's headquarters in Atlanta in the USA, and then started presenting for them in the UK.
When The Weather Channel pulled out of the UK, BBC News24 had just started up, and three auditions later, I was lucky enough to land my position as Weather Presenter. Before appearing on the screen for the BBC, I had to do exams and training at the Met Office. I absolutely love my job!
Tell us a few highlights of your career as a weather presenter
The British weather is so interesting. Sometimes it feels like we get four different seasons in one day, which keeps me on my toes. I love the outside broadcasts where I travel to other parts of the country, as it's a pleasure and a privilege to see areas I've never visited and bring them to our viewers. In the summer months, you'll often find me at the Chelsea Flower Show, Royal Ascot and Wimbledon, usually when the grounds are almost empty, so sometimes I have to pinch myself that I'm really there!
What about the more challenging moments?
Apart from getting the forecast right, some of the most challenging moments in my career include dealing with the weather on outside broadcasts. I remember being in a blizzard on the Glenshane Pass in Northern Ireland. We knew this was approaching, but it hit while I was on the air. It was so cold, and it felt like pins and needles piercing the little bit of skin that was exposed on my face. I don't think I'll forget that until the day I die!
You're hosting guests onboard an exceptional Scottish cruise. What makes the Scottish Highlands special for you?
The Scottish Highlands are special to me as this is where I grew up. I come from a village called Morar in the Northwest Highlands. I think I appreciate it more now than when I lived there. The Highlands are beautiful. All that fresh air! On a clear night, the stars are simply stunning, and the scenery is out of this world. I find the Highlands a wonderful place just to relax and regroup.
Is Morar still your favourite part of Scotland?
When you get to Morar, the silver sands are breathtaking. Then there is Loch Morar and the Morar River - it's all gorgeous. But another favourite part is the route between Fort William and Mallaig, especially on the Jacobite Steam train. My grandfather helped build the Glenfinnan Viaduct, which is now famous for its appearances in Harry Potter and The Crown.
What will you be talking about on the trip?
On the trip, I'll tell you what it was like growing up in the Highlands. I may tell you a bit about my experience on Strictly Come Dancing and a few anecdotes about being a TV Presenter (especially when things go wrong).
What do you think are the real highlights of the trip?
I think the highlight of this trip will undoubtedly be the spectacular scenery.