1. ITV Report

Rower's message to Cornwall: 'We're not just country bumpkins'

The girls hug as they finally complete their challenge Photo: Ray Penhaul

A Cornish woman who has praised her home county for the support they have given her as she completed the epic 9,200 mile journey across the Pacific.

Speaking to ITV West Country via Skype Laura Penhaul said even though those from Cornwall may be seen as "country bumpkins", the world is their oyster and you can achieve anything.

The emotional rower said she couldn't thank her supporters enough, and praised her friends and family who had been "there for me through thick and thin".

The Coxless Crew departed from under the Golden Gate Bridge in their pink 29ft boat Doris in April last year, rowing more than 9,200 miles from San Francisco to Australia.

Laura said she was really overwhelmed by the feat, and couldn't quite comprehend what the team had achieved.

Trewirgie Junior School, where Laura Penhaul was a pupil, celebrating her success Credit: ITV West Country

She said the wildlife had been a huge highlight of her time at sea - where she caught sight of whales, sea turtles and birds.

When asked what it felt like being back on dry land after nine months at sea, Laura said it was "what I have dreamed of".

It's what I've been dreaming of for the last nine months. It doesn't feel real that it's now here, and we're not having to get back on the boat again. It's quite exciting but at the same time, when you get off the boat your legs are pretty wobbly, we always do the classic looking like Mr Soft as we jump off the boat.

The sea legs are definitely still there, walking up and down stairs is the most difficult thing, you cannot imagine!

It's just very bizarre, body's feeling pretty tired and I think that mentally we are absolutely really being driven so much because we are just so, so happy to be on land and be with family and friends.

– Laura Penhaul
The girls complete their final leg into Cairns Credit: Ray Penhaul

She said the team had faced many challenges both before, and during the huge endurance event.

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Laura told us she was done with challenges for a little while, and was now concentrating on her day job and getting Britain's paralympic athletes to Rio.

And as for ever getting in a boat again, Laura says she will, as long as it has an engine!

An ocean rowing boat is the most painfully slow way of moving I've ever been on, I think babies crawl faster than what we were rowing sometimes. I'd rather get on something with an engine!

– Laura Penhaul
The exhausted team finally cross the finish line Credit: Ray Penhaul

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