Tuk tuk and away for Lanky lasses

A trio of Pendle lasses left the world in their wake by beating nine teams from across the globe to win the prestigious Lanka Challenge.

The winning team
The winning team

Andrea Hartley, Maxine Whitham and Carol Clark navigated a thousand kilometres of Sri Lankan countryside by tuk tuk, the Asian country’s signature transport.

Now in its ninth year, Large Minority’s Lanka Challenge sees teams from all over the world come together to tackle the epic ride.

Given a route each morning and daily challenges with which to accrue points, the objective of the Lanka Challenge is to afford participants with a unique and socially responsible travel experience.

Interior Designer Maxine Whitham of Colne said: “We’ve done some of the most amazing things that we never thought we’d do.

“We’ve gone right outside of our comfort zone. The people of Sri Lanka are absolutely gorgeous.”

She also thanked her fellow challengers when she added: “We love you all. You get to fifty and you feel a little bit invisible, but we haven’t felt invisible here.”

The group were feted for their victory on the final night at a gala awards ceremony at the luxurious Mount Lavinia Hotel in the capital city Colombo.

Recently retired Carol Clark from Barnoldswick highlighted the strength of the logistics team behind the event.

She said: “When we broke down, it literally took us 15 minutes to get back on the road. Everybody’s there to help.”

Biomedical scientist Andrea Hartley said: “Winning is just a bonus. Completing the Lanka Challenge is the real success. Going around the country, not doing a fully organised tour but having somewhere lovely to stay every night and knowing there is back up there if you needed it. We just had such a good time.”

The next Lanka Challenge will take in the North of Sri Lanka and is scheduled for April and costs from £1,900 per person for a team of two.

Large Minority provides adventure holidays in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Philippines and the Amazon Rainforest. A responsible travel company, a percentage of each trip goes to support local communities.

Co-founder of Large Minority, Julian Carnall, said: “We are delighted for Carol, Andrea and Maxine. They embodied all the attributes that make a successful challenge team.”