Part-time commandos endure Arctic chill
While chilly temperatures left people shivering in the Westcountry, a group of hardy troops shrugged off the cold to take part in a training exercise in Norway.
Defying temperatures as low as -20 degrees, the men and women have just completed cold weather survival and warfare training in a remote area just inside the Arctic Circle.
Among them was Territorial Army Private Nicola Harding from Plymouth, who endured a dip in ice-cold water to take part in an ice-breaking drill.
Meanwhile, for lawyer and Royal Marine Reservist Greg Spencer, the exercise, dubbed Hairspring 2013, provided a chance get to grips with an entirely different environment to one in which he had already served.
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The 36-year-old served in the baking hot heat of Helmand, Afghanistan, when he carried out a tour of duty with Plymouth's 42 Commando in summer 2011.
"You're always looking for the challenge, the same as most blokes out here," he said.
"We want the opportunity to test ourselves in different environments and see what we're capable of when it's -20, blowing wind and you've got to ski with a Bergen (backpack) on your back.
"My day job is office-bound entirely. I spend my time going from meetings to my desk to send emails, write documents and talk to people on the phone.
"It's air-conditioned with fully flushing toilets and a nice canteen, so it's pretty different to out here."
Lieutenant Colonel Graeme Fraser, who oversaw the Norwegian expedition, said valuable lessons had been learned in the freezing environment. "If you can learn the skills and develop them here in the high north, in the Arctic, when we've been operating between -8 and -22 C routinely for the last fortnight, you can transfer those skills into a less demanding environment.
"It's about developing very transferable skills and it works well for us to be able to take those to any other countries around the world."