Royal Marines take on cycling challenge

Pictured at Southern Spain are Royal Marines on day 4 during  the cycle phase of the 1664 Challenge. ''icture: PO(Phot) Si Ethell
Pictured at Southern Spain are Royal Marines on day 4 during the cycle phase of the 1664 Challenge. ''icture: PO(Phot) Si Ethell
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A ROYAL Marines musician from Portsmouth is taking part in the latest leg of an epic challenge to mark the 350th anniversary of the corps.

Sergeant Mark Hill, 41, from Southsea, is part of the third leg of the Royal Marines 1664 challenge – a 1,664km cycle from Cadiz in Spain to Port-en-Bessin in France.

The aim of the challenge is to raise thousands of pounds for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund.

Once the men reach France, some of them will get into kayaks and paddle across from France to Portsmouth, arriving on May 22.

Sgt Hill said: ‘To have been selected to take part in the 1664 challenge is both an honour and a privilege.

‘It has been a mammoth task to get to the start line, training five days a week since last June.

‘It has been rigorous and I have lost about 12kg in the process, but the RM 1664 challenge demands the best and I aim to deliver.’

Sgt Hill joined the Royal Marines Band as a 16-year-old bugler and is now the band’s operations co-ordinator at HMS Nelson.

He added: ‘From a cyclist’s point of view, I wanted to take part because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to cycle across Spain and France as part of a team.

‘This event is all about celebrating the Royal Marines’ 350th birthday, and in the 1664 charter, King Charles stated that each unit was to have a drummer, so the buglers are the oldest branch in the Royal Marines and that makes this challenge all the more important to me.’