A FORMER Ringwood adventurer has completed his challenge of walking across the world’s largest frozen lake.

Ash Routen, who now lives in Leicester, completed the 634km expedition to walk across Lake Baikal in Siberia, Russia on March 18. He was joined by Phil Sturgeon.

The route taken by the two-man team is equivalent to walking from London to Edinburgh, or doing 15 back-to-back marathons.

Ash, 31, said: “We had a truly amazing experience. The scale, extremes of weather, and creaking and groaning of the ice on Lake Baikal were mind-blowing.

“It’s an extremely beautiful place, and the Siberian people were so welcoming and supportive. It was difficult and humbling, and we now know a lot more about ourselves and our own capabilities. We’re extremely grateful for the support of Sub Zero and SIGG to help equip us for the trip."

He added: "It's incredibly satisfying to have pulled off our trip successfully. It took around nine months of planning, so to get to the start line, have a great time and come back safe and healthy feels pretty good."

Departing from the southern shores of Lake Baikal at Listvyanka, they walked along the western coast of the lake, before negotiating Olkhon island, and finishing in Severobaikalsk at the top of the lake. From here they took a two-day train journey across Siberia back to the city of Irkutsk and their departure point.

Walking for 8-12 hours each day, Ash and Phil experienced temperatures down to -35 degrees and below with wind chill.

They consumed around 5,000 calories per day to maintain the necessary strength to pull the two sledges each, which contained around 80kg of supplies to complete the journey.

They walked across large areas of uncovered ice (no snow cover), and negotiated small sections of open water, as well as ice rubble formed by colliding sheets of ice.

They also stayed in a series of remote huts where they saw a bear who was scared off with gunfire by a local ranger.

Ash headed out to Siberia for the expedition, which was in partnership with Sub Zero and SIGG, on February 28.