Grandmother home for Christmas after running across the world
A GRANDMOTHER who ran across the world is to spend her first Christmas at home in six years.
Rosie Swale Pope said she was looking forward to having Christmas dinner with her family this year after completing her five-year epic journey across the northern hemisphere in August.
Rosie Swale Pope is pictured with Boxing Day swim chairman Chris Osborne in Tenby.
The pensioner ran more than 20,000 miles to raise awareness of prostate cancer following the death of her husband.
On previous Yuletides, the 62-year-old from Tenby, Pembrokeshire, endured temperatures as low as minus 62C as she found herself in the frost-bitten wildernesses of Siberia and Alaska.
On Christmas Day last year, Mrs Swale Pope spent the day in a car park in Canada during a blizzard, eating spaghetti and cheese alone.
After braving some of the coldest climates the planet has to offer, the traditional Boxing Day swim in her home town, which will be led by Mrs Swale Pope and has been themed Around The World in her honour, will hold no fear for her.
"It will be brilliant," she said. "I have got my bikini ready. If you have been in Siberia for the winter you can wear a bikini in Tenby on Boxing Day.
"It will be huge fun and it is for charity."
She added: "It is beautiful to be home for Christmas. I miss travelling in a way. It was a people's journey and I have around 10,000 people I will be thinking of so much and they will be in my thoughts this year, but I love being home and seeing my family. It is very exciting.
"I shall be eating as much as possible to get the strength up for the Boxing Day swim but I will be spending the day quietly at home."
That she made the journey, which began in October 2003 and finished almost five years later, in one piece is remarkable in itself.
She survived being hit by a bus, suffering pneumonia, frostbite in Alaska and a breast cancer scare in America.
She was also confronted by a naked man with a gun in Siberia, and knocked unconscious as she tried to cross a river.
It was also in Siberia that Mrs Swale Pope had a curious pack of wolves following her.
"One day a wolf stuck its head into my tent," she said. "I think he took one look at me and didn't think I was very tasty.
"The pack followed me for about a week after that and it seemed they were checking on me.
"Wolves don't tend to be dangerous but they are in Siberia because they are usually hungry. The abandoned feral dogs were far more dangerous actually because they were quite brazen.
"I kept them at bay by throwing bits of bread for them which they seemed to prefer eating rather than my leg.
"All these problems happened over and over again and you either cope with it or give up.
"I had a satellite phone but by the time you've raised help you could be eaten by then."
With typical gusto, Mrs Swale Pope is now throwing herself into the huge task of documenting her trip for a book due to be published in May by Harper Collins.
"I never thought I would escape from Siberia when I was there," said Mrs Swale Pope, "and now I don't think I will escape in a literary sense!"