RAF Reservists triumph in the Norwegian mountains

Exercise Wintermarch is an Extreme Cold Weather Training exercise for Royal Air Force Reservists which takes place in the Norwegian mountains.

For a week in March nearly 50 Reservists from over 15 different squadrons swap their civilian employment for an opportunity to learn how to move and survive in the harsh Norwegian winter.

SAC Faye Nichols practising the basics of cross country skiing.

Personnel from a wide range of trades, including intelligence, logistics, medical, media operations, flight operations and RAF Regiment participated, learning skills such as avalanche survival, crossing dangerous ground, first aid and basic mountain safety.

"The level of confidence they gain is great for them to take back to their civilian employment.”

Exercise coordinator, Squadron Leader Alex Redman, said: “We’ve been very fortunate this year with the widest selection of trades and branches [from the RAF Reserves taking part in the exercise.] It’s great to see the Reservists show their ability to tackle new challenges in unfamiliar terrain – the level of confidence they gain is great for them to take back to their civilian employment.”

SAC Melanie Marshall cross country skiing during the exercise.

Iain McArthur, 54, joined the Royal Auxiliary Air Force six days before his fiftieth birthday, the upper age limit for joining. He said: “I’ve found out that downhill is quite different to cross-country.  It’s quite a baptism of fire.”

Tarumbidzwa Blee, 30, from Walworth is a nurse in 600 Squadron, she said: “Norway has been such fun.  I love it.  I always wanted to be in the military. There has never been a day in the last six years that I have felt any different.

SAC Dee Runciman from 501 Squadron.

Exercise Wintermarch is an annual exercise for RAF Reserves that has taken place for nearly two decades in participation with the Norwegian Reserve Officers Association.

The exercise takes place each year in Hardangervidde National Park, with instructors from Norway and Denmark who have expert knowledge on the area and the skills needed to survive the hostile winter environment.

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