Written by Jasmine Cattigan
LLB (Hons) Law
How far could we leggit? The question my best friends and I were determined to answer when we decided to embark on one of BU’s Raising And Giving (RAG) Society’s challenges: The ‘How Far Can You Leggit?’ Charity Hitchhike. Our challenge? To be the team who could get the furthest away from Bournemouth in just 36 hours. Sounds simple enough, right? However, there was a small catch… No money could be spent on transport. So, maybe not so easy…
12th November 2016: Day 1
Our adventure started at the Student Unions Bar ‘The Old Fire Station’ where we collected T-shirts, hitchhike signs and registered with the tracker to ensure we stayed safe on our journey. After a quick briefing and obligatory group selfie, the race was finally on.
As we flooded out of The Fire Station, there was no escaping the buzz of anticipation and excitement for what laid ahead in the next 36 hours. Where would we end up? Would we make it abroad? Would we win?
Our first plan of action was to try our luck at the train station; a plan of action every other team apparently had too; I’ve no doubt our student stampede was quite the hysterical sight for the commuters that morning! After unsuccessful negotiations at the station, we turned to the coach station in the hope of meeting a charitable coach driver- and meet we did. After some words of persuasion by yours truly, we found ourselves on a coach to London.
I would like to say the rest of our first day was just as successful but, to our dismay, it was very much the contrary. Our tactic to blag our way onto a train from London to Dover to cross the border into France was quickly shattered when our pleas were met with a resounding ‘No.’
It was clear a different approach was needed. Remaining hopeful, we tried our hand at asking for tickets instead.
-Once again, no luck…
Disheartened, but not defeated, we decided to go all out and try our luck at Gatwick airport. After meeting the loveliest train staff ever, we were finally moving again and soon found ourselves at Gatwick.
We rushed to every desk and, with our now very developed negotiation skills, pleaded and negotiated as if our life depended on it. But, you guessed it, no luck. Time was rapidly slipping away, much like our motivation.
We decided to head back to the train station and try our luck once more. There was just one slight issue. With no money, and therefore no tickets, we were genuinely stuck inside Gatwick airport. The moment of surreal realisation is a moment I will always remember. Our panic mixed with utter tiredness and hysterical laughing came over us. We were stuck. In Gatwick. Not your standard Saturday night, eh?
Once our laughing fit had surpassed, we managed to compose ourselves enough to persuade (BEG) staff to let us out. We were on the move again, but desperation had settled in…
14 hours had passed. Time was running out. As we sat on the floor of the station once more, a coach to Glasgow caught our eye. We agreed to make one final attempt. Quite frankly, we needed a miracle.
And a miracle we got.
After an entire day of rejection, FINALLY, we were moving again!
After 8 hours on a coach, we made it to Glasgow!
13th November: Day 2
We had made it. But what next? After classily freshening up in the public toilets, we decided to try our luck with the kindness of bus drivers once more; this time heading to Edinburgh.
By the time we had reached Edinburgh, we were actually WINNING! Exhilaration and adrenaline convinced us to keep going. We could win this.
Another coach, another destination -this time, Inverness. Our journey through the Scottish Highlands was unforgettable. The scenery was truly stunning; mountain ranges, highland streams vivid autumnal foliage -utterly picturesque.
Despite travelling over 600 miles, news came that another team had made it to Poland (yes, Poland!). Rather than try to trek any further into the heights of the Scottish Highlands, we decided to make the most of our time in beautiful Scotland, and spent the last remaining hours exploring the wonderful city of Inverness.
Okay so we didn’t win, but the hilarious memories, surreal situations and not to mention the £5000 raised for the Dorset Blind Association courtesy of all teams involved, made it all worth it.
As well as getting your dream degree, university is a place where new adventures are to be had and memories made. Getting involved with RAG volunteering and, for me, their challenges, was no better way of doing just that.