The Dalai Lama was so impressed by the home-made shortbread he tasted on a visit to Blair Castle that he asked if he could take some away with him.

The Tibetan spiritual leader arrived at Blair Castle in Blair Atholl, Pitlochry, Perthshire, on Saturday morning with an entourage of around 25 people as part of a visit to Scotland.

After being shown arround the ground floor of the castle and the magnificent ballroom, the Dalai Lama and his party were offered coffee, tea and the Highlander Shortbread – the shortbread is made to a unique recipe for the Atholl Highlanders, the only private army in Europe.

Leigh Creighton, general manager for Blair Castle’s caterers, Sodexo Prestige in Scotland, said: “I was asked to welcome the Dalai Lama and offered him something to eat and drink. I offered him some of our shortbread, but he only wanted half a piece.

“He loved the shortbread so much that he asked if he could take some away with him, so we were delighted to prepare a little doggy bag for him. It was really fabulous to get the chance to meet such an important world figure as the Dalai Lama, and the fact that he loved our very own special recipe shortbread was just wonderful.”

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. We showed him the ballroom and he was interested in everything there, particularly the portraits of various Dukes in Highland dress. That sparked quite an interest. He is very interested clearly in the natural world. He was asking about the birds that were here and he was fascinated by all the wild flowers he had seen. He was particularly interested in the rhododendrons which he said were rather small compared to the ones in his part of the world, which I dare say is true.”

The Dalai Lama was then given a guided door of Blair’s historic 18th century gardens, which feature a walled garden, wooded grove, red deer park, ruined kirk and gothic folly before moving on to Inverness for the next stage of his two day visit to the Scottish Highlands.

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