PRUDHOE BAY, Alaska -- British adventurer George Meegan completed a 19,021-mile walk from the tip of South America to the Arctic Ocean Sunday, hiking the last nine miles of his nearly six-year long journey.
The walk that began Jan. 26, 1977 from Ushaia, the southernmost non-scientific settlement on earth, ended at 1:30 p.m. at the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic Cir:le on property leased by the oil firm ARCO Alaska Inc.
Meegan, 30, of Rainham, England, was permitted to complete the last nine miles of the journey by ARCO, which had refused his initial request two weeks ago to cross its property but later relented..
He was accompanied by his Japanese wife, Yoshiko, and they were met by their two children, Ayumi, 5, whose name is Japanese for 'walk,' and Geoffrey Susumu, 3, whose Japanese name means 'keep going.'
'This walk is a celebration of freedom,' Meegan said. 'It was achieved without funds and without sponsorship. It was made possible by the 10,000 acts of kindness shown me by the people of this world.'
Meegan said he made the journey because nobody had ever done it before. His press agent said the walk represents the longest continuous foot journey in history and the first transverse of the Western Hemisphere on foot.
He reportedly beat the record of David Chang who walked 18,500 miles from Singapore to London in 1958.
When he arrived at the shore of the Beaufort Sea -- some 2,426 days after leaving South America and after making an estimated 31 million strides -- he cried and said: 'I feel like I've lost my best friend. It's over.'
Meegan and his family planned to return to England as soon as possible. They eventually hope to live in Japan.
Meegan, a member of the British Merchant Navy, said he doesn't know what he will do when he returns home aside from visiting with his mother who he hasn't seen in almost four years.