Crew members on board the Royal Navy mine hunter HMS Blyth sported Santa hats as they docked at HM Naval Base on the Clyde and celebrated being back in the UK in time for Christmas.

The 37-strong crew had just completed a six-month Nato deployment and were greeted by family and friends who had waited patiently in the torrential rain.

HMS Blyth left the base at Faslane, near Helensburgh, for the Mediterranean and Black Sea in June, where it took part in training exercises with Turkish, German and Italian navies.

Flag Officer Scotland Christopher Hockley, the most senior naval officer north of the Border, said: "Coming home is such a special day. They left before the Olympics. They are very proud and the Navy really appreciates the job they have done."

HMS Blyth anchored to the sounds of the Band Of HM Royal Marines Scotland and the crew rushed down the gangplank to hug their loved ones, many of whom held "Welcome" banners.

Lieutenant Commander Tim Davey, the ship's Commanding Officer, was greeted by wife Caroline, 36, and daughters Ellen, 7, and Lauren, 3.

Lt Cmdr Davey, 37, from Somerset, said: "It's fantastic to be home just in time for Christmas.

"The crew is looking forward to spending the festive season at home and taking a well-deserved break."