London, June 19 : She has encountered a naked madman with an axe and had 29 marriage proposals but globe-trotting grandmother Rosie Swale Pope returned home after a five-year trek on Wednesday.
Rosie Swale has been followed by wolves, and on six occasions has nearly died. After making her way alone across some of the world's most inhospitable terrain, suffering frostbite, double pneumonia and a breast cancer scare, and is now believed to be on the verge of becoming the first person to sail and run around the world.
The 61-year-old, who travelled 32,000km (20,000miles) across 12 countries, arrived in Scrabster in the north of Scotland to be greeted by cheering crowds and a piper, The Times reported.
The mother of two said: "I am out of my mind with excitement and it is fantastic to be back. It has been a hard journey - I was held up by a naked madman with an axe, had frostbite and have gone through 45 pairs of shoes but it has all been worth it."
She confirmed last night that she had checked with Guinness World Records, which said that it had no record of anyone having achieved the double feat.
Rosie Swale achieved fame in the 1970s as a round-the-world yachtswoman, causing a stir by sailing through the Tropics in the nude. On her latest venture she was nearly swept to her death in a river in Siberia, and almost froze at minus 62C (-79F) in Alaska.
On one night a man wielding an axe confronted her; on another two convicted murderers taught her how to light fires in the rain.
But after wearing out 45 pairs of shoes in more than 240 weeks of running, Swale-Pope was delighted to be home.
"The most important priority now is to run the last 700 or 800 miles, and then to keep honour with this journey by writing a book," she said.
Her latest adventure began on her 57th birthday after the death of her husband from prostate cancer, in an attempt to raise awareness of the disease.
After running across Europe, spending two winters in Siberia and crossing the United States, Canada, Greenland and Iceland, she caught a ferry to Scrabster in Scotland that arrived at 5a.m. on Wednesday.
Swale-Pope, who has two children and two grandchildren, carries all her possessions, either in a backpack or a cart, which she pulls by a harness around her waist.