The defence minister Johnny Mercer has been attempting to canoe the length of the River Tamar to keep fit, but it hasn’t been going entirely well.

The former army officer spent three nights in hospital last week with a serious head injury after tackling a weir and smashing his face on the river bed. In February he nearly drowned when he and the canoe parted company and he had to chase it for a mile down the river. “I think it’s important in life to work out what you’re not good at,” he says. “Canoeing would seem to join that rather long and illustrious list.”

He is still planning to conquer the Tamar, even though the river obviously votes Liberal Democrat.

River Tamar shows Mercer no mercy

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