THE road to Morocco could be a steep learning curve for two hitchhiking students - who don't speak Spanish.

University students Chris Ashbolt, 19, of Tyburn Close, Grange Park, and Liz Jones, 21, of Sandringham Road, Lawn, have hit the trail through Spain, with nothing more than a handful of chocolate bars and some noodles between them.

The pair are hoping their hitchhike will raise vital cash for Link Community Development - an African charity.

"I'm hoping that most of the people we meet will speak either English or French," said Chris.

"If not it will be phrase books at the ready.

"But I think we'll have problems without that."

The friends set off on Thursday and according to Chris, the plan is to camp using the tent they have taken, although Liz is hoping they may be able to stay somewhere with shower facilities every couple of days .

The road trip will take them through Newbury, to Portsmouth, across the channel to Le Havre, then down through Spain.

In all, the trip should take about two weeks, throughout which time the pair will be at the mercy of the public.

"It's not the done thing because of safety reasons," said Chris.

"But if people see that we're doing it for a charity they might be more inclined to give us a lift.

"I'm hoping that is the case really otherwise we will be stuck on the road for a long time."

Despite the fact that the backpackers are going it alone, the journey is part of a scheme set up and run by five universities, to raise money for Africa.

The Link Community Development was created to provide and improve education in schools in Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda, to help children escape poverty.

Chris involved Liz after being signed up through Leeds University, where he studies French and Arabic.

Liz, who is at the University of the West of England in Bristol, agreed and they have been planning the trip since December.

Before even setting off Liz and Chris have raised £200.

The students have been given advice on how to stay safe by organisers.

"It's a concern - some people have said it's not the greatest plan, but it's as safe as it can be," said Liz.

"As long as we're not afraid to turn down drivers I think we should be fine."

Chris said: "I know that if someone comes along and we see something doesn't sit right with us then we'll wait for the next lift."

Chris is one of 80 students involved through his university.

He thought this was the perfect opportunity to visit Morocco, the chosen destination for his year abroad as part of his language studies. He returns there next September.

To sponsorship the adventure, visit www. or to follow the pair's progress across Europe visit