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.

Fishy bird tale

October 4th, 2003

LYING IN for an extra half-hour is one of Saturday morning's little treats, especially as the days shorten and sunrise is no longer about five a.m. However as the dogs make their presence and their need to go outside plainly evident, it's impossible to escape the world as completely as I hope.

Sheba sits at the front doorstep and barks to be let back in, so the bliss of the morning's first life-saving cup of tea is also disrupted. Two dogs certainly aren't just for Christmas.

Feeding time follows their morning walk. It's not long before they indicate that walk time is passing, so will I kindly shake a leg or someone may come in and bite it. Then it's a quick shower and pull on the nearest clothes, so as not to offend their delicate feelings any further.

Last Saturday morning was overcast, but this didn't dampen the dogs' enthusiasm. Macbeth glided mysteriously beneath the hedges in pursuit of exotic scents. Out of sight I heard him scratting about the dry leaves until my patience ended and I threatened bloody retribution if he didn't come back at once. He reappeared just as mysteriously – all in his own good time.

The hills were looking flat and colourless and a light mist blurred the view up Glen Esk. A noisy straggle of pink-foot geese flying inland very high, passed on our left. On our right a small skein of four seemed headed for the Glen, but suddenly glided on set wings for several moments, and deciding to change plan headed after the larger bunch.

Here's a tale to stretch your belief. Mrs. Jeannie Gladstone of Fasque near Fettercairn, telephoned to say she had found a young guillemot in woods near the house, which is about 12 miles inland from the coast. This was surprising as guillemots are strictly birds of the sea, really only coming on land to lay their single egg on rocky cliff ledges.

The bird was very weak and too young to fly, so she took it home and put it in her garden pond in case her peacocks attacked it. It took to its unexpected new home and flourished on the supply of fish from the deep freeze. But the supply was running low, so did I know how she could safely return it to the wild?

Young “Gillie” has now been handed into the care of Meadowbank SSPCA centre at Inverkeithing which treats injured seals and oiled seabirds. I'm learning to avoid saying “it couldn't ever happen”, but how on earth did a guillemot chick get itself to Fettercairn?

I've looked up guillemots in the bird book. It says “storms may drive them inland”. But there haven't been any storms, and this one couldn't fly. Most strange.

Perhaps there is an authority out there who can help.

Written on Saturday, October 4th, 2003 at 4:12 pm for Weekly.