HitchHoppers Notch Up a Whopping 100 Islands!
20 July 2011
How many islands can you set
foot on in the space of two weeks?
Two friends who embarked on a hitch-hiking island-hopping challenge
on the west coast of Scotland have launched a final fundraising
push after managing to visit exactly 100 islands in the space of 14
days. If you wish to donate, Jim and Brian's fundraising page for
the RNLI can be found at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/hitchhop.
Jim Campbell and Brian Ferguson, who started "HitchHop" by setting
sail from Glasgow on the Waverley paddle steamer on July 1st, had
decided to try to set foot on as many islands as possible en-route
to the Hebridean Celtic Festival in Lewis, a flagship event for the
Year of Scotland's Islands, in aid of the RNLI.
They notched up the 100th island by setting foot on the tiny isle
of Tannaraidh, off Stornoway, the day before completing the final
leg of their journey by hitch-hiking to the lighthouse at the Butt
The pair, both from the Leith area of Edinburgh, had set several
rules for their challenge, including both having to set foot on an
island for it to count, only allowing ferries as public transport,
accepting any form of lift on land or sea, and including all kinds
of islands, even those that are un-named.
Jim and Brian had raised more than £1,400 for the life-saving
organisation via their fundraising website and through donations
collected during their travels by the time they reached Lewis, but
are now hoping to further boost their tally after breaking the
Local TV and radio stations and newspapers throughout the islands
featured the pair, who were accompanied by a tartan trolley bag on
their travels which helped stage impromptu raffles in aid of the
Tiny passenger-only ferries, tour boats, RIBS and fishing boats
were all deployed during the challenge as islanders rallied round
to support the challenge. The two fundraisers recorded their
travels on social networking sites, generating 350 followers on
Twitter and 170 on Facebook.
Brian, 38, said: "We're sure no-one else has done anything like
this before and it was an amazing feeling setting foot on islands
which are rarely, if ever, visited by anyone. We had huge support
from boat operators and owners who bought into the idea of
HitchHop, but we were also amazed at the help we had hitch-hiking
through the islands."
"After a bit of a struggle during the rush-hour in Largs on our
first day, we were a bit worried about what we'd taken on, but we
never had to wait that long for help. We were a bit surprised we
didn't meet any other hitch-hikers, until the final minutes of our
challenge when we met a couple who had just visited the Butt of
Jim, 39, added: "This really was a trip of a lifetime, standing on
many remote islands. The trip would not have been a success if it
wasn't for the goodwill of others. We are both so grateful."
"Being in so many diiferent boats made me realise just how crucial
the RNLI is in saving peoples lives. I am so glad HitchHop is
raising funds for such an important organisation."