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The reservist marines endured temperatures as low as -30C as they honed their winter survival skills on the Arctic Circle exercise.

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.

HEAVY DUTY: The elite group endured temperatures as low as -30°C.

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.

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."

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