So, for the Big 6 demonstration, rather than pay the extortionate fee of £20 each way, myself, and my friend, decided we would hitch-hike our way across the country. This shouldn’t be too difficult we figured, as it’s pretty much straight up the M4, and our destination was the village of Sipson, Grow Heathrow specifically, a hop, skip and jump over the M25.
We set off, packs on our backs, section of a UHT milk box in hand, armed only with a huge permanent marker. The first leg of our journey was to begin by Cabot Circus, outside the shell garage - as indicated by hitchwiki.org. The spot was easy to find and had a huge volume of traffic going past and, sure enough, about 20 minutes after arriving we managed to score our first lift, to Bath. We were told that most of the traffic near Cabot doesn’t leave the Bristol area and that it would be easier to hitch from the motorway. We were also told a fairly amusing story about her last hitching experience, some years ago, when she’d gone to visit a fugitive friend of hers; an apparent attempted train-derailer.
At the junction for Bath we dismounted, trudged past the highways agency car sat squatly on the roundabout, edged our way onto the slip road and got out our sign once more. We didn’t have to wait long at all: the third car to pass us, owned by a video journalist for the BBC, picked us up and took us almost all the way to the M25.
We were dropped just shy of the junction we wanted and, after 10 minutes of walking up the hard-shoulder, just as we caught sight of the “Pedestrians in roadway - slow” sign overhead, HA patrol pulled over and told us in no uncertain terms that the “police are coming” and we had to get off the motorway ASAP. We did so, luckily by a fishing lake with a picturesque path skirting it. After asking several people for directions (the conflicting answers people give never ceases to amaze me, always follow your own nose) and a quick cheese ploughman’s, we found our way to Sipson and to our bed for the night.
The return journey, surprisingly, went even more smoothly. Again, taking advice from Hitchwiki, and my friend’s experience (he had hitched from the spot before), we took the District line tube to Gunnersbury and walked (LEFT from the front door of the station, we had a false start here) until we found a large roundabout with a slip-road leading to the M4. We made our sign, M4(W), waited for approximately half an hour and caught a lift with a man going within 2 miles from our final destination. What a result!