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Kilts and Buddhist smiles

Experts say (they always do, don’t they) that we could all benefit with a dose of meditation, and they’re not talking about getting zen with the remote control and a pizza. But you don’t have to acquire diarrhoea in an ashram in India to get your Buddha groove on.

Just take the number 112 bus from Lockerbie for a weekend's mindfulness meditation course at the first Tibetan Buddhist monastery to be built in the west. A weekend course will set you back £114 with accommodation and three veggie meals included – which is damn cheap for a retreat. And once you pass the grumpy monk at reception you can let your guard down; this isn’t the Kasbah in Morrocco, these people don't want to sell you anything, they're just here with teachings they believe in.

Mindfulness is a particular form of meditation that has gained credence in the west via clinical studies that have proved its efficacy in helping people change their relationship with themselves whether the problem is chronic pain, anxiety, stress, depression, addiction or general malaise. So if you're already madly in love with yourself, you obviously won’t be needing this....

The monastery is set in a remote valley by the river Esk, is non-denominational and is run by the very cool and happy-out Clive Holmes – who of course has the required grey ponytail just to prove he’s the real deal.

Samye Ling runs weekend courses and mindfulness courses year-round. The centre is in Eskdalemuir, 15 miles from Lockerbie (rail links), or two hours' drive from Glasgow or Edinburgh airports. Check out samyeling.org/.

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