Dozens of reservist marines have endured a fortnight of living in temperatures of -30°C (-22°F) in the Arctic Circle as they honed their skills in one of the world's most challenging environments.

Troops from the Royal Marines Reserve (RMR) took time off from their civilian jobs to complete cold weather survival and warfare training in northern Norway, a programme that was started during the Cold War.

The group included lawyers, doctors, police officers and shop workers who were taught cross-country skiing, how to survive after falling through ice, cooking in the extreme cold and how to build a snow shelter.

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The project, named Operation Hairspring, was led by Lieutenant Colonel Richard Parvin, Commanding Officer of RMR Scotland.

He said: "Temperatures this year ranged from 5°C (41°F) down to -30°C where we routinely train. Cold weather training is at the core of what we as Royal Marines do; it is in our DNA.

"Reservists are everyday men from every walk of life who have a unique bond in that they are members of a 350-year-old family.

"They are a small band of highly committed individuals who manage their civilian and family lives to undertake intensive, yet rewarding, ­training and deploy around the globe.

"Coming to Norway is a big commitment for them, it's the harshest environment to fight in; with learning to survive against the elements being a constant challenge."

A slight increase in ­temperature in the region this year actually made conditions more difficult for the group of 73 reservists.

Lance Corporal Gareth Wilkinson, a 34-year-old police officer from Aberdeen, completed his second trip to the region.

He said: "It was extremely challenging, arduous and ­difficult conditions to work in this time.

"The weather has been ­unpredictable with strong winds, low temperatures, and then rain and snow as well.

"Strangely, some of the more experienced guys said that it could have been doing with being a bit colder and with less rain, as it's better in the dry cold rather than when everything is wet."