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.

The Broch

September 27th, 2003

BARLEY STUBBLES, butter yellow when freshly cut, soon turned to faded sun-bleach during the endless days of sunshine we enjoyed over the summer. Now, after a night's heavy rain they look lifeless, which of course they are. Already the ploughs have been into the fields turning under the dead stalks and exposing the brown sheen of next season's tilth ready for sowing.

Oil seed rape is the first crop to be sown for next year's harvest. No sooner were this year's bales of straw out of the fields than some were ploughed up. The rape was sown straight after and already it is far enough through to produce a green carpet of colour. It won't grow much more over winter, but in springtime the ground-high shoots will sprout at a great pace to about five feet high. Ready for the eternal round of harvesting once more.

The weather has turned really back-endish all of a sudden. There's a chill in the air and my fair weather dogs are not so keen to spend their days outside. I welcome the calls of the returning geese but I don't look forward to the shortening days.

Another visit to son Robert and his family, but this time to the Banffshire coast where they were holidaying. We joined them at Portknockie which is one of the fishing villages strung along that north facing coast from Fraserburgh westwards to the Moray Firth.

Peter Anson describes the village in “Fishing Boats and Fisher Folk on the East Coast of Scotland”. He wrote that it was one of the most flourishing fishing centres on the Moray Firth in the 1930s. Even when its harbour had been enlarged it could not hold the fleet of fifty-eight steam drifters which belonged to the 555 fishermen “of this very much alive little place”.

The whole coastline was at one time greatly dependent on the herring and white fishing for a livelihood. Each village has its harbour, and as I am unable to pass any harbour without going down to have a look, I had a deeply fulfilling weekend.

Walking the dogs we disturbed a handsome buck hare which cantered away from us quite unconcerned. He well knew he was in no danger from Sheba and Macbeth, but the company wasn't to his liking. I'm always optimistic they'll return to their former numbers once more.

Macbeth was taking no chances on getting home again. We woke up on the Sunday morning to find he had settled himself very cosily into the overnight bag we had brought our kit in. If you're a dog with as much brains as a docken I suppose it's obvious what an overnight bag is for.

Granddaughter Cecily announced she would sit opposite me at breakfast – “then I can gaze into your eyes”. Game, set and match to Cecily!

Written on Saturday, September 27th, 2003 at 4:19 pm for Weekly.