Edoardo, the Haddo House Heritage Hero, marches home!
After 5 weeks on the road, walking 500 miles and visiting 23 closed historic properties, the arrival at his final destination of Haddo House on Sunday 30th August, the nation's Heritage Hero, Edoardo Bedin completed his journey.
He was greeted at Haddo by a piper to salute the hero along with colleagues from the National Trust for Scotland as well as members and friends from the Rotary Club of Ythan Valley. Edoardo has been a member of the Rotary Club of Ythan Valley since the beginning of 2020.
Over the course of the last month and more, Edoardo has been showered with hospitality, goodwill and support as he crossed the country from Aberdeen to Angus, Fife, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Arran, Ayrshire, Renfrewshire, Stirlingshire, Dundee, Kindcardineshire and back to Aberdeenshire again, taking a different route in each direction.
He has been featured in lots of local newspapers up and down the country, interviewed on TV & radio, and the BBC are coming to film his return.
People have gathered to cheer him on in villages and towns as he passed through, he has been guest of honour at many welcome parties, he has been gifted meals and nightly hospitality by generous Scots people, businesses and Rotary Clubs along the route, and he has seen a side of this country that he calls home, from a very different angle, a very uplifting one.
Even the makers of his footwear are supporting him by promoting what he is doing. They are sending him new walking boots because he has worn the tread flat, having walked 800km on this epic journey.
His mission from the outset was to shine a light on the closed heritage properties looked after by the National Trust for Scotland (NTS) across the nation; the future of these precious places hanging in the balance whilst the doors are closed, resulting from the COVID crisis.
Everyone is admiring of Edoardo's passion, his drive and his commitment, including the chief executive of the NTS who he met and had talks with at Hill of Tarvit near Cupar.
During the course of his long walk Edoardo's own job with the National Trust for Scotland was made redundant, and one morning, last week, just before he hit the road for the day, he was interviewed by video call for a newly created role within the NTS. It has been an emotional and tiring 5 week expedition, but at the same time inspiring and revelationary.
He says, "I feel as though I have been on a strenuous pilgrimage. I return to Aberdeen a changed man, a better one. I have learnt a lot about myself, about the organisation I work(ed) for and about the people with whom I want to share what I have been privileged to help preserve for them."
"Scotland's heritage is a very important part of the country and its people, they have shown me that as I have walked. I just hope I can continue to be a part of it."
During the course of his walk, with the help of the Scottish Government and a re-think on the part of the NTS, seven of the properties he visited are due to reopen again very soon. So the nation now has its fingers crossed that there is hope for the others too.
The Haddo House Homecoming has to be a very small, private celebration, due to COVID restrictions for outdoor occasions, but Edoardo humbly asks that if you would like to celebrate with him, for achieving this mammoth marathon (19 marathons actually!) you can offer your support on his JustGiving page - Hitting the Road for the Love of Scotland. All the money raised will go to help Scotland's historic properties reopen.
"That would be the best form of celebration I can imagine" he says, "for the total to continue to rise, enabling doors to be unlocked and for people to walk back in"
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