A British woman, who left home at the age of 16 on an epic global trek, entered the record books Friday as the first woman to go around the world on foot.
Ffyona Campbell, 27, strode into this small village on the northern tip of Scotland just before 8 a.m. and 11 years after she left to cross Europe, Australia, the United States and Africa.
Campbell, barefoot and in tears, was greeted by her parents, Colin and Angie, and sister Shuna, crowds of supporters, local residents, reporters and camera crews in helicopters.
“This is a piece of history,” said Campbell, the fourth person to complete a round-the-world walk. She took her shoes off just before entering the village.
During the grueling two-year Africa leg, she was stoned by hostile villagers, had to be rescued from political unrest in Zaire by French Foreign Legion troops and suffered an attempted rape in Morocco.
She said her supporters had kept her going: “Some of them I met along the way, giving me generosity and kindness and taking care of me.”
Campbell’s walk of 19,586 miles across four continents began in September, 1983, when she walked from the northern tip of Scotland to Land’s End in 49 days.
In 1985, Campbell walked the 3,500 miles from New York to Los Angeles in 151 days. She crossed the 3,200 miles between Sydney and Perth in 95 days in 1988, which beat the existing men’s record.
Campbell embarked on her Cape Town-to-Tangiers walk in April, 1991. The 10,055 miles were completed in several stages in 363 days. She walked from Algeciras, Spain, to Calais, France, in 112 days this summer and began her final hike through Britain on Sept. 4.