During the Easter holidays we undertook 2 days training with the Royal Marines at Bickleigh Barracks. We were taught by various members of 42 commando. Lieutenant Mark Hughes showed us around and told us where to go and what to do. Training took the form of lectures, demonstrations and active participation. We had four lectures:

We were given an informative but also highly entertaining lecture by sick bay attendants. We learnt a wide range of skills from resuscitation to treatment of broken legs to chest drains. The Royal Marines who taught were very generous and gave us a substantial amount of first aid equipment. Luckily we did not have to use our newly gained knowledge while in Spitsbergen as we did not sustain any major injuries but it was reassuring to know that we could cope had there been any trouble.

The following afternoon we discovered how to use radios - a skill that would later prove to be very useful. During the lecture, we met our patron, Lieutenant General Robin Ross who, along with his AdC, Lieutenant Paddy Hirsch, had organised the training for us. The lecture was followed by an exercise which involved the expedition members wandering around the Barracks being guided to various points by Royal Marines on the other end of the radios. Despite difficulties in learning the jargon, we managed the task successfully.

The next morning was very rainy. We were led to the shooting range and taught how to use and maintain rifles. We then had several practice sessions from which we emerged rather bedraggled. The shooting session enabled us to choose the expedition member who would be responsible for keeping the gun. This responsibility lay on Dave Boulton, as he was the best shot.

After the shooting training, we went to another Barracks in Plymouth where we were given a lecture on skiing techniques and avalanches. We were given a good insight into how to wax skis and ski maintenance. We were also taught how to recognise the signs of avalanche, and what we should do should we find ourselves in that unfortunate situation. We found the lecture very useful. The Royal Marines were very generous in giving us a variety of ski waxes and ski poles. These were, of course, invaluable on the expedition. We are very grateful to the Marines for all their help.

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