Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Around World in Perfect Harmony

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Around World in Perfect Harmony

Article excerpt

Byline: By Liz Hands

Husband-and-wife car journeys, with one map-reading and the other driving, are a notorious source of arguments.

But Charlotte and Philip Straker have just driven hundreds of miles across six different countries ( taking it in turns behind the wheel and navigating ( with hardly a cross word.

In fact, the pair worked so well together, they finished 10th in the amateur section of the London-Sydney Marathon despite never rally-driving before ( and they've raised around pounds 6,000 for charity.

Charlotte revealed: "There were a couple of 10-minute silences during the race and our middle daughter, who came out for part of the contest, joked she was coming to save our marriage.

"But, we actually got on brilliantly. We took it in turns to drive and both got into the spirit of things."

Competitors started in London, travelling by car, ferry and cargo plane ( taking in the Alps of Europe, the tea plantations of India and the deserts of Australia ( to arrive in Sydney 30 days later.

Now back at their home in High Warden, near Hexham, Philip, a company director in his 50s, and Charlotte, in her 40s, are just waiting for their trusty Toyota to be shipped back to join them.

The family car ( only modified with a change of tyres donated by Lloyd Ltd of Throckley ( has certainly clocked up the mileage. Travelling by ferry from Portsmouth to St Malo in France, Charlotte and Philip, who have three daughters ( Emma, 24, Sarah, 20, and Mouse, 17 ( drove down through Italy and Greece to Ankara in Turkey.

"There were some pretty hairy moments going through Europe," said Charlotte yesterday.

The roads were narrow, winding mountain tracks with sheer drops and some cars did turn over but, luckily, no one was seriously injured ( just broken arms and cracked ribs.

"Even though we were in the amateur section, the Clowes Cup, it all got very competitive, in a light-hearted way, with people letting air out of tyres and stealing keys. …

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