Leaving Melrose we headed to Selkirk then the Ettrick Valley. Our first stop was at Ettrick Kirk where we visited the headstones for James Hogg & Tibbie Shiels. There is a very interesting exhibition in the kirk that records the history of the parish through historical documents and photographs. The exhibition is a must for anyone who has an ancestral connection to the parish or interested in social history.
We travelled from Ettrick to Kagyu Samyé Ling Tibetan Centre in Dumfriesshire. Nothing can prepare you for the sight of a Tibetan Monastery rising amongst the hills and trees at Eskdalemuir. Kagyu Samyé Ling was established as the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre in the Western World in 1967 by Akong Tulku Rinpoché and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoché. The Tibetan Temple was completed in 1988 followed by the kitchen, dining room, workshop space and monk’s quarters in 2001. Today the complex containing the college, library and nuns’ quarters is nearing completion.
We arrived in time for a lovely lunch in the Tibetan Tea Room. Afterwards we spent time in the Monastery where we witnessed the afternoon’s meditation and prayers. There is a lovely walk along the banks of the White Esk where you can see the Naga House which sits at the junction where the Moodlaw Burn flows into the White Esk. Other highlights are the Cloutie Tree, Prayer Wheel House, Victory Stupa, Tara Garden and Samyé Liberation Gate. Afternoon tea in the Tibetan Tea Room followed by a visit to the shop concluded a fascinating and memorable visit to Kagyu Samyé Ling Tibetan Centre.
We travelled back to the Ettrick Valley then into the Yarrow Valley via the ‘Top Swire’. From the Yarrow Valley we travelled back to Melrose via Selkirk.
Due to the popularity of today’s tour, we will be organising further tours to Kagyu Samyé Ling Tibetan Centre and surrounding area during August and September.
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