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.

Angus Glens

October 11th, 2003

SOME JOURNEYS are always special because of their views over our bonny Angus countryside. The B9134 is the high road from Forfar to Brechin and there's so much interest in those few miles.

Lunanhead village is scarcely a mile out of Forfar. A tiny Episcopal church sits at the side of the road. It was built by the Gray-Cheape family who have owned Carsegray estate, near Forfar, for many years. The Doyenne visited it recently and tells me it is a wee gem inside, and that the walls have been painted with murals by a talented member of the family.

The road rises when you leave the village, and you pass Pitscandly Hill on the right and then Finavon Hill on your left. There's a Pictish fort on the top of Finavon Hill. It's worth the climb up the hill to see how wisely the wee blue men chose their fortified sites. There are clear views all round, and the enemy would have been spied in plenty of time to man the ramparts and see them off.

Further on at Aberlemno, just on the roadside, are Pictish carved standing stones. There's another very fine stone in Aberlemno churchyard which is supposed to have a depiction of the Battle of Dunnichen, or Nechtansmere, carved on its back. Close to today's Letham (Angus), the Picts defeated the King of Northumbria who had claimed overlordship of southern Pictland.

The highest point of my journey was over Angus Hill and as you start to drop towards Brechin you can pull off the road where the views to east and west are just wonderful. Eastwards you see up to Laurencekirk and beyond. Westwards, as far as Blairgowrie I would reckon.

I stopped there recently and got out of the car to sup up the perfection of it all. I was high on one shoulder of Strathmore – the Great Strath – looking across at the gateways to the Glens of Angus. I pictured them all. Glen Clova, with Prosen lying concealed behind it. Then Glen Moy and Glenquiech, Glen Ogil and the short Glen of Trusta. On again to Glen Lethnot, and from there it’s over The Wirren and into Glen Esk.

A van driver who seemed to know the lay-by pulled in for a few minutes for his mid-morning cuppie. Flashes of sunlight through the clouds brought life to the autumn colours. Across the Strath a clear divide marks the end of farming activities and the start of the moorland. In a wood below us contentious rooks were full of disagreement. An impudent cock pheasant stalked past scarcely giving us the time of day.

I followed a tractor and bogey loaded with newly lifted potatoes. As we slowly trundled towards Brechin the car was filled with the comforting smell of freshly turned earth.

Written on Saturday, October 11th, 2003 at 4:06 pm for Weekly.