Being out in the countryside with my dogs gives me time to think. I’ve learnt the pleasure of solitude without being lonely, and that’s a good feeling for me.

Welcome to "Man with two dogs" - the family website for dog owners and dog walkers.

This is my countryside diary which appears each Saturday in the Dundee Courier newspaper.

Dawn songs and glen kirks

May 20th, 2017

Lochlee Kirk 008THERE’S BEEN discussion lately about the intrusion of the dawn chorus – which starts here around 4a.m. – into the slumbers of honest citizens who need their eight hours sleep every night. If I’m wakened by it I lie in bed and enjoy it or get up and take a wander in the garden. I don’t know what else I could do except bury my head under the pillow. …read on »

A sea of passing memories

May 13th, 2017

Tom Easton cobles 004ON THE outskirts of Montrose, by the roundabout as you drive south under the red brick railway viaduct, is a salmon coble, filled with earth and planted out with summer flowers. These blue/grey fishing boats were a familiar sight on our north-east coast until about twenty years ago when the Scottish commercial salmon netting industry began to decline. Seeing it brought back a host of memories going back to my childhood. …read on »

Darling buds and dandelion clocks

May 6th, 2017

Borage & butterflies 021MAY MORNING – the first morning of May month – when girls traditionally rise from their beds at dawn and dash outdoors to bathe their faces in the early morning dew, in expectation that it will bestow on them a flawless complexion. …read on »

Melanistic in its magnificence

April 29th, 2017

DSCN1040MY AUSTRALIAN cousin – his family emigrated to Australia from Shetland – and his wife, currently back in Scotland on holiday, e-mailed me a photo of a black pheasant-like bird which they spotted confidently striding along an Ayrshire roadside verge. Was it, he wondered, a cross between a black grouse (blackcock) and a pheasant? …read on »

Sunny days and starfish

April 22nd, 2017

IMG_7016AS I sat down in front of the computer wondering how to start this week’s piece a blue tit solved the problem. I presume it was part of a courtship display, but I can’t say for certain because I haven’t seen such behaviour from a blue tit before. …read on »

Barking mad on the beach

April 15th, 2017

DSC04232THE ONLY time I took Inka One, the current Inka’s grandfather, on Montrose beach was for a surprise 1st Birthday Party for Kiwi, another black Labrador. …read on »

Securing out fragile nature

April 8th, 2017

SNH hog S. UistFORTY YEARS ago brown hares were a common sight on the ploughed fields at this time of year, but around the mid-1970s their numbers declined sharply. Predation and loss of habitat due to changes in farming practise were two of the explanations suggested for the downturn but I’m not sure that a definitive explanation has ever been given. Over recent years their numbers have slowly recovered, though I doubt if they will return to their previous level in my lifetime. …read on »

The sounds and sights of spring

April 1st, 2017

DSC04195NEVER MIND the first day of spring, last weekend and Monday’s blue skies and sunny weather had me wondering if we’d skipped straight into the first days of summer. It was good to leave my jacket behind and feel the heat of the sun on my face when I took Inka for his afternoon walk. …read on »

Spring arrives step by step

March 25th, 2017

DSC04178EACH YEAR, about mid-September, I start looking into the skies above the house for the first of the ragged chevrons of pinkfeet and greylag geese reaching the end of their annual migration from their Arctic summer breeding grounds, just as their ancestors have done for a thousand years. …read on »

A taste of the Lake District

March 18th, 2017

DSC04174The Doyenne and I are back after a break in Crumble Cottage, in Cartmel, not far from Morecambe Bay – so, Lake District. Why Crumble, you ask? Our hosts grow rhubarb and make lots of rhubarb crumble and the name just evolved spontaneously. …read on »