She has been followed by wolves, received twenty-nine proposals of marriage — and on six occasions has nearly died. But a grandmother said yesterday that she was “full of beans” after arriving back on British soil on her record-breaking 20,000-mile run around the world.

After making her way alone across some of the world’s most inhospitable terrain, suffering frostbite, double pneumonia and a breast cancer scare, Rosie Swale-Pope, 61, is now believed to be on the verge of becoming the first person both to sail and run around the world.

She confirmed last night that she had checked with Guinness World Records, which had said it had no record of anyone having achieved the double feat.

As Rosie Swale, she 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 -79 degrees in Alaska.

On one night she was confronted by a man wielding an axe; on another she was taught by two convicted murderers 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. “It’s fantastic to be back on British soil,” she said, adding that she hopes to be back in Tenby, West Wales, on August 25 — 1,789 days after she set out in October 2003.

“The most important priority now is to run the last 700 or 800 miles, and then to keep honor with this journey by writing a book.”

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