A TOP political journalist is planning to head to the Borders after announcing his retirement from the BBC.

Assistant political editor Norman Smith said he wanted to "have a look at the big wide world" when he told viewers he was stepping down last week.

And he says his first stop will be Melrose, as he plans to tackle St Cuthbert's Way.

Mr Smith said: "I came to the conclusion that I really can't spend the rest of my life prattling on about politics on this balcony.

"It's time I went out there and had a look at the big wide world out there – and yes, that does involve on going on some decent walks with the hound.

"First stop, I am going to be walking St Cuthbert's Way which is a five-day walk between the Borders town of Melrose and Holy Island.

"I've had an amazing blast. It's been great. It's been huge fun and a massive, massive privilege – not just working with so many talented people, but for being able to broadcast to people watching the BBC."

Mr Smith joined the BBC as a local radio reporter in 1986 and became a parliamentary correspondent in 1993, presenting Today and Yesterday In Parliament on BBC Radio 4.

He has been assistant political editor since 2014.