David Cameron prepares for G8 summit with early morning dip... but Vladimir Putin did not join him
PM takes tha plunge in Lough Erne, joined by one of his ever-present bodyguards
Andrew Grice has been Political Editor of The Independent since 1998. He was previously Political Editor of The Sunday Times, where he worked for 10 years, and he has been a Westminster-based journalist since 1982. His column, Inside Politics, appears in The Independent each Saturday.
Tuesday 18 June 2013
When you are hosting a world leaders' summit surrounded by water, there is only one way to start the day. David Cameron duly took the plunge at 6am today when he went for a swim in Lough Erne in County Fermanagh.
He was not alone. Prime ministers never are. He was observed by a swan. He was also joined in the cold but not freezing water by one of his ever-present bodyguards.
Sources close to the Prime Minister denied he was trying to upstage Vladimir Putin, the muscular Russian President, who has been pictured swimming in a genuinely freezing Siberia but did not join Mr Cameron.
The Prime Minister, a fan of “wild swimming” in beauty spots such as the Lake District, has a photo of the dip but, in marked contrast to his Russian counterpart, will not be making it public. He also made time for a run at the picturesque luxury golfing resort before chairing the summit.
“I can recommend a swim in the lough,”Mr Cameron told journalists later.“ I have the photographic evidence but I'm not going to share it with any of you. It certainly wakes you up in the morning and gets you going for a hard day of chairing these meetings.”
The Prime Minister gave Mr Putin and the other six G8 leaders summit gifts showcasing some of the best of Northern Irish craftsmanship. They include a book of photography by local artist Chris Hill, bottles of 12 year County Antrim Old Bushmills Distillery reserve whiskey with a personalised G8 label, Co Couture chocolates from Belfast and handmade oak pens by County Down-based Tulip Woodcrafts.
Other gifts from some of the UK's best-known brands included Mulberry overnight bags, Bushmills whiskey and Anya Hindmarch wash bags and journals and a specially-created album of current UK artists and their best selling British album in their respective countries.
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