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.

Seashore and salmon

May 3rd, 2003

WE – MACBETH and I, that is – went for a long tramp on St Cyrus beach. He'd never seen the beach before, and as the tide was out he was absolutely stunned by the amount of space. For several minutes he didn't quite know which way to run, so he ran around in circles trying to get some sort of bearings.

I lay down on my stomach to get an idea of perspective from his eye level. Small wonder he was astonished – it just went on and on with no apparent end. I couldn't see Scurdy Ness lighthouse near Montrose, which is quite visible when standing up. And waves were a cause of some concern to him. But then a wave a foot high must look to Macbeth like the Red Sea looked when it rolled back on the pursuing Egyptians.

To get a better idea of your dog's life lie down (or wobble, like me) on your stomach to appreciate what your pet sees. We share strangely different lives. Unlike us humans they can run and sniff at the same time, following a scent.

The seashore wasn't too interesting for smells and we walked back to the car along the bents at the foot of the cliffs. The large number of rabbit holes and scrapings were much more fulfilling.

Trips to St Cyrus were a feature of my childhood. Along with other skinny children, we were thrust by insensitive mothers into the freezing sea, with the assurance that seawater was good for us. I don't remember the mothers sharing this benefit.

I do recall a lot more noise of seabirds up on the cliffs, especially at this nesting time. Perhaps we were late in the day and everything was settling down for the evening, but I did expect to see and hear more.

We passed what I know as Beattie's Grave, a sheltered graveyard lying between the sand dunes and the cliffs, which recalls a tragic tale. George Beattie, a Montrose solicitor of undistinguished background, was rejected by the high born daughter of a local laird. In his despair he blew out his brains in the graveyard, and is buried at the spot he died.

There are still salmon nets along the beach to catch the migrant salmon returning to their mother rivers. Until very recent years the bay at St Cyrus featured the traditional arrow shaped stake nets which had been developed over generations of experience and were a most effective method of catching the King of Fish.

Nowadays much smaller jumper nets are used. They have the same arrow-head shaped bag of net to catch the fish but can be operated by one man. It being Saturday the nets were “slapped”. Fishing is prohibited between 6pm on Friday till 6am on Monday and the nets must be left open for the salmon to escape during this time.

Written on Saturday, May 3rd, 2003 at 7:29 am for Weekly.