THOUSANDS gathered at Eden Court Theatre today to welcome the Dalai Lama to Inverness.
His Holiness arrived in the Highland Capital to deliver sold-out talk “Be the Change” to 1,300 ticket-holders at the theatre, and hundreds more gathered at the Ness Bank venue to catch a glimpse of the spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate.
The visit, part of a trip which saw the leader deliver talks in Dundee and Edinburgh before reaching the Highlands, was hailed as a success by crowds, who enjoyed dry weather before the event, but were soaked as His Holiness left.
The talk was the hottest ticket in Inverness this weekend, selling out in just over 24 hours.
Phil Gardner (47) who lives in Beauly, was lucky enough to get a seat. After the talk, he said: "There was a big percentage of young people in the audience, which was a good thing.
"I think I would say it might be difficult to apply the message of individuals making changes in the present world, but I would imagine a lot of those people will have taken something from it, and of course, that was the main message.
"It was fantastic to see the Dalai Lama in the Highlands, it is something that obviously doesn't happen very often!"
Frances Wilson of North Kessock spoke to the Highland News in the rain after the event. She said: "I loved his humour, it made the talk seem like he was having a conversation with the crowd.
"It was a great message for the children, to make a difference the way they can. It was a really fabulous delivery and I am so happy I was able to be there."
The arrival of His Holiness onto stage was preceded by a dance show, involving young dancers from Eden Court, and a contemporary Tibetan folk song about the Dalai Lama.
His Holiness arrived on stage to a standing ovation, and delivered his speech on a stage which was filled with pupils from schools across the Highlands.
He frequently addressed them directly, and had the crowd on its feet for a moving end, singing and dancing to "Auld Lang Syne", accompanied by pipers.
Nairn Academy student Amy McCann introduced His Holiness on to the stage, and chaired a question and answer session, where the Dalai Lama responded to the questions of young people.
The Dalai Lama will leave the UK to meet commitments in mainland Europe tomorrow morning.
The visit is the latest in a stunning run of events to grace the region this month. The Olympic Torch Relay passed through the city on two occasions, GB & Ireland won the Curtis Cup for the first time in 16 years at Nairn Golf Club, Princess Anne became Chancellor at the University of the Highlands and Islands, and thousands flocked to the Rockness festival at Dores.
See this week’s Highland News for full coverage of the visit.