FEATURE – Edinburgh men to ‘HitchHop’ to raise money for RNLI

Jim Campbell and Brian Ferguson

Leith fundraisers decide to HitchHop in aid of the RNLI

A couple of Edinburgh men are heading off on a hitch-hiking island-hopping challenge in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Jim Campbell and Brian Ferguson are embarking on this challenge in the west coast of Scotland this July

Inspired by a love of Scotland’s islands, the pair of fundraisers, both from the Leith area, plan to see how many of them they can get to within 14 days next month.

The travel challenge will begin at a yet-to-be announced ferry port on July 1 and will finish at the lighthouse at the Butt of Lewis, the most northerly point of the Western Isles, before Jim and Brian take in the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Stornoway.

As well as raising funds for the lifesaving organisation, and awareness of the work of the RNLI, Jim, who works in the mental health sector, and Brian, a journalist, are also planning to promote the magic of Scotland’s west coast and the experiences to be found there via updates on their twitter account and facebook page.
HitchHop will have five key rules:

* Both Jim and Brian have to see foot on an island for it to count.
* All islands will count whether or not they are inhabited – and even if they are connected to another island or the mainland by a bridge or causeway.
* Although Jim and Brian will be using ferries, they will be mainly relying on the goodwill of others to get around during the challenge.
* They will accept an offer of a lift, either on dry land or across water, on any form of transport.
* Although they may make some travel plans in advance, they will not accept any lifts until the day they are travelling.

Jim, 39, said, ‘After coming up with the idea for the challenge we were keen to raise money for an organisation that would mean something to every island community.

‘The RNLI just seemed the perfect choice because of the huge role it plays in protecting islanders and visitors to the islands, and we’re looking forward to visiting as many stations as we can during the challenge.

‘There’s loads of islands we’d like to visit during HitchHop, but a lot will come down to where our lifts take us, either on dry land, or on water. Whatever happens, we’re going to need a bit of luck along the way.’

Brian, 38, added, ‘We haven’t set an official target but we’d like to think we could visit at least 30 islands if we get half-decent weather, although we’ll be giving it our best shot whatever the conditions.

‘Although Jim and I are both regular visitors to the Hebrides, this is a real step into the unknown for both of us, as we have no idea where we’ll end up or when, and we’re particularly excited about setting foot on islands that we’ve never been to before.

‘We hope to inspire people who have never visited the islands to give them a try and discover the amazing scenery and fascinating history round almost every corner.’

Good luck lads!

Links:

HitchHop fundraising page

HitchHop facebook

HitchHop on twitter

HitchHop blog

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