Thousands of people start the great Christmas getaway today as they head home for well-deserved breaks with their families or jet off to the sunshine.

Scotland's airports, roads, ferry terminals and stations will be packed on one of the busiest days of the year, five days before Christmas Day.

More than 250,000 people are expected to use the main airports in the next two days, but there are fears that journeys will be disrupted by torrential rain and flooding predicted in parts of Scotland and England.

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A Glasgow Airport spokesman said: "We are looking forward to a busy festive period at Glasgow Airport, with approximately 150,000 people expected to travel through the airport over the holidays.

"The majority of these people will be escaping the Scottish winter and heading to sunnier climes such as Dubai and the Canary Islands, or travelling to the European and North American city destinations we serve, such as Amsterdam and New York."

Edinburgh Airport chief executive Gordon Dewar, said: "We're totally focused on making sure the 100,000 passengers travelling with us this weekend have a great experience to kick-start their festive period."

Engineering work means a restricted service on the West Coast Main Line from Glasgow to London, and ferry services to Orkney and Shetland are facing disruption over the next four days as sailings are cancelled due to prolonged storms.

Serco Northlink, which operates the lifeline services from Aberdeen, said it would be unlikely that any of its boats would sail from Saturday to Boxing Day if weather forecasts of heavy winds proved accurate.