Sunday, 29 April 2012

Kagyu Samyé Ling Monastery and Tibetan Centre

I've driven past this Centre a couple of times in the past and have always been intrigued by it. So, as things were pretty quiet in the Lakes, I decided the other Sunday to have a little drive up and investigate. I had intended to drive the whole way up Eskdalemuir as it's a fine Scottish glen but just spent too much time here.

The building that now houses Samyé Ling was originally a hunting lodge called Johnstone House. In 1965 the Johnstone House Trust was formed with the objectives of making the lodge's facilities available to the general public for study and meditation based on Buddhist and other religious teaching. It was founded by two spiritual masters, Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche and Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Samye Ling was the first Tibetan Buddhist Centre to be established in the West and was named after Samye, the very first monastery to be established in Tibet.

The grounds are full of shrines, places for prayer and Stupas. The eight stupas line both sides of the entrance to Samye Ling next to the Butterlamp House (where1008 lamps are lit as a prayerful gesture of hope at 16:00 each day). When the Buddha died and passed into parinirvana (final liberation), his disciples cremated his body and interred his ashes in eight stupas, which were erected in different auspicious locations. Each stupa represent an important event in the life of the Buddha. The form and contents of the Stupa express the balance and purification of earth, water, fire, air and space.

 As you enter the peace garden there is a Cloutie tree with colourful cloths tied to its branches. It is seemingly both a Scottish and Tibetan custom to make a wish and then tie a coloured ribbon to the tree and as the cloth fades the wish is carried off by the elements and hopefully one day comes true.

Another interesting section was the Prayer Wheel House. The prayer wheels contain millions of mantras (short prayers) for peace and compassion which have been inscribed on paper soaked in saffron water and blessed in a special way. As you turn the prayer wheel clockwise it supposedly activates the blessing of the mantras, transmitting the energy of peace and compassion in all directions.

I would have liked to have gone into the Temple but there were prayers and meditation going on and it would have been intrusive so I decided to have a drink and something to eat in the Tibetan Tea Rooms instead. Unfortunately it was closed due to it being lunchtime........but apparently not my lunchtime! I bet you don't have that problem at Sid's Cafe in Holmfirth.Oh well, that's Buddhism for you. Although I did notice that the people who were praying in the Temple brought out tray after tray of free food and took it into the dinning room and everyone seemed to just pile in for it but with me just being a tourist, I felt as though I hadn't earned it!

I'm not a religious person but I really took to the serenity of the place. Everything seemed so peaceful and everyone was so friendly and polite which is a rarity these days. Mind you I think it's situation in a secluded Scottish glen may have had a lot to do with that.

Buddhism seems a very caring and harmless religion to me and the people do seem genuinely good; after all, I can't think of any wars being fought in the name of it can you?I spent a very enjoyable afternoon there.

The Victory Stupa

Prayer flag

Nagarjuna Statue in Pond

Prayer Wheel House

The Victory Stupa

Buddhist Statue

Cloutie tree

Peace Garden

Two of the Eight Stupa

Chenrezig Mantra in Tibetan script.

Medicine Tara statue

The Temple

The Victory Stupa.

Prayer Wheel House

Prayer Wheel House

The Peace Garden

The Peace Garden

Peace Garden

Prayer flags, Fairy Hill

Prayer bells.

Prayer flag

Friday, 27 April 2012

The Old Coal Road.

The Old Coal Road runs between Cowgill in Dentdale and Garsdale high up in the Yorkshire Dales.

There were twenty-five coal pits which formed part of the extensive coal workings and lay on the moorland either side of it. These coal pits were worked by local people, initially to produce domestic fuel, but by the 18th century, the poor quality coal was also being used in lime kilns. Commercial coal mining went on in Garsdale until the 1870s when the Settle-Carlisle railway started bringing in cheaper, higher quality coal from the Lancashire and West Yorkshire coalfields.

If you aren't adversed to a bit of  road walking then I should imaging a trip up on the Settle-Carlisle train, getting off at Dent Station and then walking up to Garsdale Head (or Hawess Junction as it was once known), would be a grand day out. For good measure it should include a couple of pints in The Moorcock Inn before getting the train back down.

On Garsdale station stands a statue of Ruswarp, a collie. Ruswarp belonged to Graham Nuttall, the first Secretary of the Friends of the Settle–Carlisle Line, which was formed to campaign against the proposed closure of the line. Ruswarp's paw print was put on his own objection as a fare-paying passenger. The line was finally saved in 1989. In January 1990 Nuttall and Ruswarp went missing in the Welsh mountains and on 7 April 1990 a lone walker found Nuttall's body, by a mountain stream. Nearby was Ruswarp, so weak that the 14 year old dog had to be carried off the mountain. He had stayed with his master's body for 11 winter weeks. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals awarded Ruswarp their Animal Medallion and collar for 'vigilance' and their Animal Plaque for 'intelligence and courage'. The brave dog survived long enough to attend Nuttall's funeral.

From Garsdale station I took the road to Hawes and then came back over the tops to Kettlewell where I finished an excellent day off with a pint in the Blue Bell Inn.



Dentdale

Dent Head Viaduct

Dentdale

Dentdale

Raven above Dentdale

Arten Gill Viaduct

Dent Station

Dent Station

Dent Station

Dent Station

Dent Station

Clock on Dent Station

Above Garsdale

Above Garsdale

Lichen

Lichen

Old Coal Road

Old Coal Road

Ruswarp

Ruswarp

Ruswarp plaque

Garsdale Head Station

Garsdale Head Station

Near Garsdale Head Station

Blue Bell Inn Kettlewell.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Being in the right place.


When out with my camera in the Lakes, truly magical moments are often entirely unplanned and require simply being in the right place at the right time. This was such a day. It had been a dull one and I'd been round to Rannerdale near Buttermere to photograph the bluebells. There had been very few breaks in the cloud and also the display of bluebells was very poor; I think I may have been a couple of weeks too early for them. Being in the area gave me the opportunity to call in the Kirkstile Inn and sample their excellent Loweswater Gold so all was not lost!

Coming out of Keswick on my way back to the caravan site, the cloud broke to the west lighting up Skiddaw and Latrigg beautifully, just long enough for me to find a lay-by to take a few shots. Encouraged by this I made a short detour to Castlerigg Stone Circle where in the right conditions, the evening light and shadows can be extremely good.

What I was greeted with was really beyond my wildest dreams. A rain shower down the Naddle Valley along with the late sun produced an incredible double rainbow over the stone circle. It lasted for about 10 minutes before fading.

I waited to see if a sunset would develop but there was just too much cloud about but I suppose you can't have everything. It was an half hour I will remember for a long time.


Skiddaw

Latrigg

Castlerigg Stone circle

Castlerigg Stone circle

Castlerigg Stone circle

Castlerigg Stone circle

Skiddaw from Castlerigg

Cloud changing over Helvellyn

Last of the light on Helvellyn

Back in the Lakes.

Well here we are, back in The Lake District. This was my first Lakeland stroll of the year with my mate Dave and his dog Sammy. It is one of...