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.

Macbeth lives on

April 17th, 2004

EASTER SUNDAY was a family day for the Doyenne and me. We drove to join son Robert and his family who were holidaying again at Portknockie, for Easter lunch. We had a colourful, interesting journey driving over high passes, through wide glens and along sparkling riversides.

First, along to Cairn O'Mount by way of Edzell, passing under the Dalhousie Memorial Arch at the entrance to the village. It commemorates the 13th Earl and his Countess who died within days of each other.

Then through Fettercairn and its memorial arch, built in red sandstone, which commemorates Queen Victoria's visit and overnight stay in that village at the Ramsay Arms Hotel.

Near the summit of the Cairn O'Mount is a simple drinking-well on the right hand verge of the winding road. From recollection it commemorates a young officer killed in the Second World War. A favourite family walk had been up the Cairn, with a stop for a breather and a couple of handfuls of water from the spring. Its low wall has grown so much into the encroaching heather that you are past it almost without noticing it.

The late Peter Gladstone of Fasque told me the long, steep bend before the summit was originally concreted, and known as  concrete corner', and then the whole road was tarmaced in the early 1930s.

When I first started in business, as a solicitor in Montrose, one of my clients was a Mr Adam Bowman who told me he drove the first charabanc over the Cairn. Over the Cairn and into Deeside has been a favourite drive for three generations of Whitsons. As children my sister and I were usually sent to add another stone to the top of the Cairn when my Father drove into the royal demesne. We always looked for the white pencil of Scurdyness Lighthouse to help us find our home town of Montrose.

The Doyenne and I have taken our own family, as well as countless guests, for picnics on the round trip by Aboyne, Braemar (stopping for a quick keek at Balmoral where it says parking is strictly  verboten'), back through Glenisla and home by Kirriemuir. Last Sunday's journey, however, was northwards by Banchory and then up through the middle of Aberdeenshire.

The Macbeth Arms Hotel is in the square in Lumphanan. Despite his social aspirations the hotel isn't a shrine to that demented ball of string which shares the name. Macbeth in this instance is the Scottish king immortalised in the Shakespeare play.

Look, I'm running short of space, and we're scarcely halfway to Portnockie. We got there safely, and daughter Cait and her family who were staying with her brother, were waiting to greet us too.

We had a super family lunch surrounded by noisy grandchildren, and had time for a sunny walk on Cullen beach before the drive home.

Written on Saturday, April 17th, 2004 at 10:23 am for Weekly.