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.

Scottish painters and wild salmon

June 18th, 2005

THE INEVITABILITY of the sea in its differing moods has been depicted by generations of storytellers and painters. Restless, caressing, serene, lonely – are just a handful of defining adjectives used to portray it.

There's a spirituality in the sea which artists respond to. I think of Joan Eardley's wild seas beating on the rocks around her north-east home village of Catterline. And of my great-grandfather, Joseph Henderson's many, many seascapes; and those too of his close friend and son-in-law, William McTaggart.

But for me, the sea's inevitability is perhaps best summed up by David Pullar, salmon fisher at Fishtown of Usan, when he speaks of being as “patient as the sea”.

The sea has all the time in the world; the tide ebbs and the tide flows in its own ineluctable cycle. It would be wonderful to be as patient as the sea, and be assured today that what one expects tomorrow, will indeed occur. The sea needs no such reassurance, for nothing man can do will interrupt the cadence of its rhythm.

There are moments when I need to be near the sea. I bundle Macbeth into the car and, as often as not, we drive down to Kinnaber and then follow the riverside path. So it was recently.

He and I sat, most companionably, on the sand dunes looking out over Montrose Bay and St Cyrus Bay, watching the ebbing tide drift gently away from the shore, leaving a damp strand of sand and pebbles. There was still warmth from the settling sun on my back and I was content to lose myself in the measured beat of waves breaking on the shore.

I was in a dwalm, away in a world of my own, and Macbeth broke into it. He'd sat bolt upright and was staring keenly out to sea. A seal's head, glossy in the evening sun, had popped up beside a salmon net arrowing out from the shore, set by the netsmen to harvest the King of Fish.

A second sleek head appeared beside another net. It was suppertime for seals and salmon is rich fare. Rather than devour the whole fish, a seal will bite choice bits out of it and move on to catch another one, leaving behind a trail of depredation and vexation.

The Doyenne was away on business for a couple of days, leaving me to  bothy' on my own. She travelled by train, and as I put her on it and met her from it, I thought how there can scarcely be another railway station with a bonnier backdrop than Montrose.

Montrose Basin with its abundance of birdlife, the light and the colour, carrying the eye away to the Grampian Hills. I've known it all my life, and we're truly lucky to live in such a magical part of the country.