Dalai Lama breaks tour with Blair Castle visit
THE Dalai Lama has taken time out from his tour of Scotland for some sightseeing.
The Tibetan spiritual leader visited Blair Castle in Perthshire as he made his way to Inverness to deliver a public address.
He toured some of the site’s 30 rooms, looking at portraits in the ballroom, and took a short walk in the grounds to see the flowers and wildlife.
The 76-year-old discussed the history of the castle, which dates to 1269, during a cup of tea and shortbread with estate bosses.
Sarah Troughton, head trustee of Atholl Estates, led the Dalai Lama through the castle, passing the weaponry and stags’ heads lining the walls.
“I think the visit went very well. He is such a charming man, I think he would make sure it would go well,” she said. “He was very interested in the history of the Atholl Highlanders and how they paraded.”
The earliest known part of the castle in Blair Atholl, Cumming’s Tower, dates from the 13th century. An extension was added to it in 1530 to form a Great Hall.
Troughton said: “We were enormously honoured that the Dalai Lama should choose to visit here. I’ve always respected him tremendously. He has always exuded this wonderful, peaceful aura and to have him at Blair Castle is just more than words can describe really.”
Controversy over the Buddhist leader’s visit erupted last week when opposition parties claimed the Chinese authorities had put pressure on councils and the Scottish Government.
Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said First Minister Alex Salmond refused to meet the Dalai Lama. However, Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the monk was in Scotland on a pastoral not political visit and was being properly recognised with a reception hosted by Holyrood’s Presiding Officer.
During a public talk yesterday, the Dalai Lama said he was in Scotland to spread a message of harmony.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
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