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.

High summer

August 28th, 2004

BRIGHT SKIES and shining sun were too good to miss, so Macbeth and I took ourselves off to one of the favourite walks up Glen Esk.

Just before I parked the car my attention was caught by tremendous house martin activity.

There were three mud nests built under a farm house window lintel, and the birds were wheeling round and round, and several appeared to be feeding chicks in one of them. They twisted and dipped in the air so fast that I couldn't tell how many birds there were, but it was a joy to sit and watch them for several minutes.

I had taken a bag with me hoping to find wild mushrooms, but it must be early yet because I didn't see one. I kicked at what I thought was a piece of orange peel that someone had carelessly dropped. It turned out to be a toadstool which I popped into the bag and brought home to identify. It looks from the book as though it is a fungus called  orange peel' – so I was half right.

It was ideal weather for walking. Cottonwool clouds were high in the sky and the wind was cool, but not cold. Macbeth was all over the place and got very hot and sounding like a wheezebox. So we walked downhill to a stream where he stretched himself out in the shallows to cool.

We walked back up the hill and sat beside a deserted cottage. I tossed a pebble onto the roof and more than a dozen rock pigeons erupted from the empty windows and doors, followed by another family of house martins.

I watched the hillsides round about me darkened by the shadows of the clouds as they passed over the sun. A grasshopper noisily rubbed its rear legs together. I only recently discovered that this is called  stridulating'. Writing this column has fairly broadened my horizons!

We lay out on the hill in the sun for nearly half an hour. The only evidence of Man's imprint on the landscape was the deserted cottage with its dilapidated outbuildings, and ribbons of dry stane dykes.

A jet plane passing overhead, miles high and out of sight, jogged me back to my other more mundane world, and we set off back to the car.

Macbeth chose the familiar early morning walk to the barley field which is still to be combined. As we walked down the track between the woods I saw two roe deer ahead of us, a buck and a doe, about sixty yards away in the barley.

The doe and I stood stock-still, watching each other. The buck couldn't have cared less and flopped down into the barley. Eventually the doe felt confident enough to flop down beside him.

Even when Macbeth and I turned to walk away the deer weren't alarmed.

Written on Saturday, August 28th, 2004 at 11:55 am for Weekly.