Soldiers return from charity arctic mountaineering adventure

TWO Blackburn soldiers have returned from a unique expedition in Greenland.

Corporal Phillip Baldwin, 27, Corporal Anthony Riley, 30, and six other soldiers from the 2nd Battalion The Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment spent more than three weeks trekking in the Arctic raising £15,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.

Temperatures as low as -30C were not enough to put the soldiers off their stride - and they actually climbed five more mountains than they originally intended to.

Amazingly, the eight peaks the group conquered in the Liverpool Land region had never been reached before by climbers.

The expedition, which started on March 24, unofficially named one of the peaks in honour of Brandon Beech, the nine-year-old cystic fibrosis sufferer from Chorley who inspired the trip.

“The area is a logistical nightmare to get to, and it was only thanks to Army donations that we could make it there,” said Sergeant Major Andrew Diver, who was part of the crew.

“We only set out to climb three mountains but we were doing so well we pushed ourselves to do another five. It was better for us to be moving and climbing than sitting still in the cold.

“It took at least two hours to do something as simple as getting ready in the morning. Sometimes it was difficult to motivate ourselves but the untouched scenery was amazing.”

Carrying a rifle with them at all times due to the risk of polar bear attacks, freezing food and equipment frustrated the team as they took to the summits, some of which reached more than 1,400 metres.

Brandon’s dad Chris was ‘delighted’ with the soldiers’ efforts.

He said: “We try to raise awareness about Brandon’s illness through the lion mascot and as the soldiers of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment are known as The Lions of England, it just came together.”

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