Stoke-on-Trent: We started by heading straight to the bus station as we both had bus passes. We were aiming to get to Stoke train station and then get a train to a London airport where we would miraculously receive a ticket to either Australia, Japan or the Moon. Surprisingly however, these plans did not make it to fruition. After arriving at Stoke we were promptly told by various train managers that their company policies prevented them from letting us on for free. We then decided to ask nearby people if they would be happy to help fund our trip to the capital, shortly afterwards we were also informed that we were not allowed to ask for money inside or in front of the station. After this slight hiccough, we sat outside to eat and think of a new plan. We had raised enough money to buy tickets to Manchester, but that was about as far as we could get. Thinking it might be easier to get donations in a bigger city we headed off for Manchester.
Manchester: Once there, we made a tour of about a dozen different travel agents but were informed that, due to the weekend, all of their head offices were closed, meaning that they couldn’t authorise free travel to anyone. Eventually, we got enough money from kind passers-by, and some of the friendlier travel agents, to make it to Manchester Airport, so we did. We then encountered a similar problem with the airlines on the subject of free travel. One glimmer of hope was to purchase a ticket to Reykjavík, this would have costed us £300 for the two of us, but since £200 was on the return flights we were allowed to pay for that ourselves. We had just over a fiver left from our donations so we set about making the remaining £95. People at the airport were not in a very giving mood and we didn’t have a single donation after 30 minutes. After trying the coaches, we had another attempt with the train lines. Luckily, a very friendly man gave us a stamp and a signature and we were soon headed for York.
York: York was our luckiest destination for the entire trip, and after asking our first train manager for a free ride, we were heading for Edinburgh.
Edinburgh: We arrived at 00:25 in Edinburgh, after the last train. In the last two hours that we had spent on the train we had discovered that, due to a rugby match and a marathon, the closest available accommodation was in Dundee. We walked around for an hour trying to find a spare bed in a hostel, hotel or just somewhere sheltered. Eventually, we bought four coffees in a hotel lobby and were allowed to stay there until 6am, when the station reopened. Our plan was to get an early morning train to Aberdeen with one of the companies that helped us to Edinburgh, unfortunately, the company policy had apparently changed overnight and we were left with two other train lines, one of which had been our arch-nemesis since Stoke and the other wouldn’t even let us speak to their train manager. After a couple of hours bartering without success, we turned our efforts towards the Jailbreak challenges. This led to some encounters involving some bagpipe-playing adolescents, dollars donations in front of a castle and a few amusing street names. All in all, we had a very fun, although equally exhausting, experience and raised an impressive amount of money towards Anthony Nolan and the Teenage Cancer Trust whilst doing so!