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Sunday, 26 October 2014

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Carlisle man tackles -20C blizzards in marine challenge

Teenager Tom Barker tackled raging blizzards with temperatures down to a numbing -20c in a gruelling ski challenge across hundreds of miles of Norwegian countryside.

Carlisle Marine photo
The six marines relax after the first leg of their adventure

Tom, 19, from Carlisle, was part of a team of skiers who successfully completed the first leg of an adventure to mark the 350th anniversary of the Royal Marines.

The former pupil of Carlisle’s Morton School, is one of six marines selected to participate in the five-month Royal Marines 1664 Challenge. They skied hundreds of miles from Porsangermoen in Northern Norway down to the southern port city of Stavanger.

They completed the distance in just under two months with conditions ranging from blizzards to bright sunshine and temperatures of between -20c and +10c.

The team is now preparing to sail 1,664 nautical miles from Norway down to Cadiz, in Spain. From there they will get on their bikes and cycle more than a thousand miles through France to the English Channel from where they will canoe back to the UK.

Once there they will run across England, Scotland and Wales ending with a marathon through London on July 25 tying in with the anniversary of the corps’ establishment in 1664.

More than 2,000 marines are taking part in the Royal Marines’ 1664 Challenge but only the six, including Tom, will do the full event which covers more than 4,000 miles.

The six have been drawn from the six main Royal Marine units. Tom is representing 45 Commando, which is based in Arbroath, Scotland.

As well as celebrating the Corps’ 350th anniversary, the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge is hoping to raise £500,000 for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, the overarching Royal Marines charity.

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