Prayer Wheel House Demolished by Logging Lorry


The Rheged Exhibition, Cumbria. August 2006

Samye Ling Stupa
Holy Island Stupas

Mani Wall at Simdzi
Holy Mountain of Drakar

Structures and Settlements




The almost completed Prayer Wheel House at Kagyu Samye Ling 2005

Click here for more pictures of the building in progress -Summer 2005

December 9th 2005 - Logging lorry demolishes the Prayer Wheel House

Firemen cut the driver, remarkably unscathed, free from his cab.

During the summer of 2005 more than 60 volunteers arrived each weekend to help build the Prayer Wheel House. Akong Tulku Rinpoche worked alongside us every day and often gave impromptu teachings during the group tea breaks. Amazing progress was made with a small group of volunteers working alongside a team of residents every week day from eight in the morning until ten or 11 at night. It was an unusually hot summer with week after week of good weather and the atmosphere was joyful and harmonious.

The walls and roof trusses were built and the inner walkway paved. By the end of July all that needed to be done before the installation of the prayer wheels was the fixing of sandstone . Meanwhile prayer wheels were being filled with millions of mantras, painstakingly saffroned, rolled and blessed. A self taught Mani Wheel engineer had been working all summer experimenting with rods and cogs and electrical ideas to create super smooth turning wheels. During the autumn the copper roofing was completed and the sandstone sills fixed in place ready for the prayer wheels to be installed by skilled volunteers who worked at weekends. If you would like to sponsor a Prayer Wheel or the mantras within it is still possible to do so - click here.

On the morning of December 9th an unladen logging lorry skidded on some black ice on the narrow valley road that passes Samye Ling, careered through the hedge into the prayer wheel house and brought the whole structure down. Miraculously no one was killed.

So far we have begun to clear the site and are waiting for an insurance settlement from the logging company so that the work can be repaired and rebuilt, hopefully in time for the Guru Rinpoche Drupchen in June. We still need to buy more prayer wheels however and there will almost certainly be additional costs for the woodwork which was not completed and the cabinet work needed to create sheltered niches for remains, ashes and funeral urns in the inn wall's recesses.

The most positive way of responding to this event is to be thankful that the Prayer Wheel House protected the Stupa and that no one was seriously injured. However, this accident was the second demolition of a building by a logging lorry to occur on this road within the year.

Samye Ling is one of the most visited tourist sites in Scotland. Hundreds of residents and visitors walk our valley every week. The whole valley has been campaigning for several years for a speed limit and ultimately the rerouting of these juggernauts which take 75 yards to brake effectively. Their speed down the narrow valley roads, regularly in groups of two or three, often exceeds 40 MPH. Our local roads are far too narrow to accommodate these heavy vehicles, laden or unladen. Smaller vehicles, bicycles and walkers are at constant risk. In wet weather it is a common occurrence for lorries to pass walkers at speed and drench them with black mud from head to toe. Road surfaces are potholed from the extreme weight of the lorries and the roadsides are ditched and eroded as the lorries take to the verges to avoid oncoming traffic.

In Galloway the danger posed by these giants has posed such a threat to residents and tourist complaints have been so numerous that a railway is being built to carry the timber. We strongly urge readers to petition the local logging companies, local government and the Scottish Parliament to enforce the rerouting of their trucks using the money set aside for this project which has already been given and approved by the European Union and the Scottish Parliament. At the very least a 20 MPH speed limit should be observed throughout the valley by heavy vehicles.We need your prayers and support in whatever way you can give it.