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.

Travelling hopefully

March 15th, 2003

DARKEST PERTHSHIRE was my destination and I drove on familiar roads to get there. The day was bright and sunny, with clear views to far hills.

South down the A90 and looking off to the right I couldn't miss the Airlie Memorial, conspicuous at the entrance to Glen Prosen. Approaching Forfar there was a glimpse through trees of the War Memorial on the top of Balmashanner Hill, or Bummyshanner as Forfarians call it.

Because of road works you can't turn right at Forfar for the road to Glamis, so I continued down the dual carriageway to Dundee. Carrot Hill is on the left. I once knew the farmer at Carrot Farm.

Passing Perth I drove up the spectacular A9 road towards Inverness. The River Tay flows alongside much of the way until Ballinluig, when it and I both turned left to historic Aberfeldy. This is an interesting town with strong Jacobite connections. A striking General Wade bridge crosses the river.

On the town side of the bridge is an evocative kilted statue and memorial to the raising of the Black Watch regiment (the gallant Forty-Twa). Carved with a strong, self-reliant face, armed with broadsword and flintlock, and an eagle's feather in his bonnet, the figure gazes confidently to the far distance. An equally forceful statue is the Black Watch soldier who used to guard Dundee from the top of Powrie Brae, but was moved to a site at the foot of the brae on the road to Duntrune.

Crossing the river I drove along the B846 past the huge mound of Weem Hill. I have a sort-of-cousin who lived on a croft at the top of the hill. My destination was the township of Dull, whose name is probably of Gaelic derivation. It's typically Perthshire, very bonny and not in the least dull.

On my homeward journey I revisited the beautiful, old St Margaret's Church which sits above fairytale Grantully Castle. About three-quarters of a mile off the A827 road, this intimate little church has a wonderfully preserved painted ceiling, and dates from 1533. It looks down on the pepper-pot towers of the castle and all around are wooded hillsides and craggy cliffs. Here is a place to stop and reflect on your mortality.

What really surprised me on my journey was the number of molehills along the roadside and in fields by the river. They seem to be breeding like rabbits in Perthshire! By contrast I have found only one in our garden – so far.

Yellow aconites are amongst my favourite winter flowers, but they're probably nearly over. One or two gardens I have visited have quite a carpet of them under the trees. In the wood there is a patch of what I think is butterbur, which flowered from about mid-January. I checked in Mary McMurtrie's excellent Scottish Wild Flowers book and this seemed very early, but perhaps the turn of the year was mild enough to bring it forward.

Written on Saturday, March 15th, 2003 at 8:47 am for Weekly.