A trip to Kagyu Samye Ling!

Scotland in April can be a really mixed bag weather-wise, but on the Sunday I chose to make my first visit to Kagyu Samye Ling, it was stunning! (All-be-it 12 degrees!)
My mother lives in the Scottish Borders (Jeremy writing…) so we approached from North of the border, rather than the Carlisle direction.
We drove for over an hour, through barren sheep country, where snow was still visible on the hills. The fields were filled with beautiful snowy white new-born lambs – apart from the occasional farm house, there was NO sign of human life whatsoever!

Eventually as we headed to higher ground we reached the margins of the mighty Jed forest.
There’s supposedly an old Roman fort on this road, what on earth possessed them to travel from Rome to Jed Forest I will never know, but to think of what the winter must be like up here, I take my hat of to the Romans, they must have been a very tough bunch, no wonder the civilised world lay at their feet!

The terrain is totally BLASTED here, it’s like another world, hardly another car in sight, just the occasional hard hill walker.
All of which makes the discovery of Samye Ling even more extraordinary! As you round a bend in the road, you are suddenly aware of the Temple, as viewed from behind. There are the Tibetan pagoda style roofs, and just as suddenly a beautiful pond, with Buddha sitting dead-centre, shrouded in brilliant gold!


The main Temple complex is about 500m apart from the Purelands Retreat Centre where we will be going. I continued along the road to there first.

Here’s a view from Purelands looking out over the moors.


The centre is at the top of a long drive, (If you are driving, you are allowed to drop off luggage at the centre, and then you have to take the car and park it in the main car park beside the Temple complex.)

Purelands Retreat Centre

The Yellow building is the Lama’s House, with the Nun’s accommodation behind.

Purleands, was the first building, and acted as the Temple, and accommodation. The bigger Temple site came later. You walk up the right hand side of the cream coloured building and turn left to find the main door! (You are asked to be quiet outside this entrance area, as there is a brother on a three year silent retreat in a small building just beside the centre we are using!)

On entering, you take off your shoes, (So bring some slippers or flip-flops for indoor use!) to the left is a tea room for breaks.
Tea room

The Bedrooms are very simple single “cells” there are about ten above and ten below in the “wing” of the building.

Bedroom WP_20130420_002
The Practice room used to be the Shrine Room – it has such a nice relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
Practice room
Below is the Refectory, it’s very simple – the tables can be arranged as we wish..
There are basic catering facilities
Catering Table

The Breakfast is porridge – this is brought up from the main kitchens in the morning.
Lunch can be brought up, or eaten at the main monastery. (We’ll decide on a day to day basis.) It is all vegetarian food, three courses, a choice of hot and cold food, with a pudding to follow!
Dinner is soup and bread, which will be brought to the Centre for us again.
If you have any specific dietary requirements, you must cater for yourself. (There is a small fridge in the Tea Break area)

The bedrooms are warm, and comfortable. Bed linen and a towel are provided, and extra blankets are available. It would be a GOOD IDEA, to bring with you anything that you think might make you more comfortable, fleeces, duvets, meditation cushions, extra towels etc
Being Scotland, there may well be clouds of Midges too between about 6 and 8pm. They love to nibble my white skin! (There’s a pond outside, so I’m guessing yes!) It might be a good idea to arm yourself with Citronella or Bog Mrytle (or some serious DDT if you don’t mind poisoning yourself too!)

The Centre has three or four showers on each floor, one designated for Men, one for Women, and some loos dotted about too.

There’s a 500m walk between the centres and the main complex. In the main Temple complex, there are other surprises, such as the Stupor building, with a really touching “cemetery”  behind it with the ashes of the faithful displayed in boxes, in glass cases.
The Temple itself is in a courtyard, as you enter there’s a lovely stained glass Buddha
Buddha window
The Temple is astonishing!

There is a Cafe / Shop and workshops clustered around the central complex and new gardens being built round another statue of Buddha.
Buddha gardenEntrance gate

The over-all impression is initially unbelievable, and then quickly of a place of total peace and serenity.

Closer to the time we’ll discuss travel arrangements, certainly there will be a few people driving from London (About seven hours drive) and I’m certain that there will be lifts too and from Lockerbie most likely, which is on the Virgin West Coast train line.

I’m seriously looking forward to embedding myself in the Scottish Countryside and soaking up the Qi!


By Car

Come off the A74 at Lockerbie and follow the B723 to Eskdalemuir. Turn left onto the B709, following the sign post to Samye Ling, and drive through Eskdalemuir village. Samye Ling is 1.5 miles past the village on the right hand side.

By Air

Travel to Edinburgh Airport. From Edinburgh Waverley Station take a train to Lockerbie. For fares and availability of internal flights see www.easyjet.com or Edinburgh Airport website

By Rail

Take the train to Lockerbie. London Euston goes to Carlisle. There are rail and bus connections between Carlisle and Lockerbie. For train timetables phone 08457 48 49 50, or visit www.thetrainline.com. See below for travel between Lockerbie and Samye Ling.

By Coach

Coaches run from Victoria Coach Station in London to Carlisle and Lockerbie. For details of services phone National Express on 0870 5808080. See below for travel from Lockerbie to Samye Ling.

From Lockerbie or Langholm to Samye Ling

By Bus

Bus service no. 112 runs between Lockerbie and Samye Ling. For timetable information please phone 0871 200 2233.

By Taxi

There are a few taxis operating from Lockerbie, but you are advised to book in advance to save waiting around. Expect to pay around £20 one way.

  • M Y Taxis 01576 202491 3 Cruden Terrace, Lockerbie, DG11 2HY
  • Station Taxis Lockerbie tel: 01576 205968 mobile: 07706166147 (6 & 14 seater available)

For Travel Directions see: www.transportdirect.info
For lift sharing see: www.liftshare.com