British adventurer Sarah Outen arrives home after 4 years rowing the world

British adventurer Sarah Outen (right) and her partner Lucy on the River Thames on Monday, as Sarah celebrates completing more than four years rowing round the world
British adventurer Sarah Outen (right) and her partner Lucy on the River Thames on Monday, as Sarah celebrates completing more than four years rowing round the world PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Having spent 1,677 days rowing the open seas and cycling across continents, British adventurer Sarah Outen received a hero's welcome on Tuesday (Nov 3), as she ended her odyssey at London's Tower Bridge.

Stepping onto land, she was embraced by her mother, brother and tearful fiancee Lucy, to whom she proposed from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

"It feels really special and a little bit surreal," she said after kayaking from Oxford to London on the final leg of her 40,233km "global loop".

"I really stink of the River Thames so I think I need to take a shower.

"Then I'm really looking forward to catching up with family and friends," she added. "And I'm getting married! I forgot that!"

The 30-year-old fought off tears as a gospel choir serenaded her with her "favourite song": Elbow's One Day Like This.

Outen set off from the same spot over four years ago, hoping to raise money for four charities by rowing, kayaking and cycling around the world.

But it was not all plain sailing, and she was rescued twice after being battered by Tropical Storm Mawar when rowing from Japan to Alaska and by hurricane Joaquin in the North Atlantic.

She did eventually complete the journey from Japan to Alaska, becoming the first woman to row solo across the North Pacific.

As well as being joined by dolphins and whales on her journey, she was also confronted by a grizzly bear while bathing naked in a remote Alaskan pool.

As she made her final approach on Tuesday, dozens of supporters cheered from Tower Bridge, which was draped with flags and banners reading "London's conqueror".

"It's amazing, I can't believe we are here to see this," said US tourist Judy as the flotilla passed HMS Belfast.

The cheers got louder and the Union Jack-waving crowds denser as she neared HMS President dock to disembark.

After spraying family, friends and media with champagne, Outen was given a military guard before toasting her achievement with a party.

The adventurer is halfway to her goal of raising £100,000 (S$216,000) for breast cancer charity Coppafeel!, the Jubilee Sailing Trust, Water Aid and the Motor Neurone Disease Association.