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.

Wild water, white water

December 9th, 2006

A SOUTHERLY wind was blowing an already high tide higher up the beach. A fine mist of spray, from breaking seas on the rocky shore at the top end of St Cyrus Bay, cast a veil over the cliff tops at the edge of the village. It was a coorse sort of morning as I parked at Scottish Natural Heritage's nature reserve centre at Nether Warburton, but I needed to see the sea.

A wooden bridge to the sand dunes crosses over the former bed of the River North Esk, which previously flowed into the North Sea about half a mile further north than today. Years ago, during an especially wild storm, shifting sand blocked the original channel and the river changed its course to its present outfall. There's been a bridge there for as long as I can remember, but the old one fell into disrepair and lost so many planks that it was replaced some years back by volunteers from the Ghurka regiments.

I found a sheltered spot, out of the wind, and spent a little time with my own thoughts. The waves were short and close together. As each one broke it met the backwash of the one before it, and they chased each other until their energy was spent. The sound of the water drowned out the noise of the wind and I sat, mesmerised by the constant motion, shut away in my own wee buckie shell.

The horizon was low and raw looking and I wished I'd remembered to take my cap. Beneath the sluicing sound of the sea was the constant, dull roar of a relentless energy which seemed to rise from the seabed, as if powered by some monstrous submarine engine.

In the afternoon I took the dogs up the riverside walk through the Blue Door at the Gannochy Bridge which crosses the North Esk just above Edzell. The river had risen considerably with the previous days' heavy rain and was fairly rammling down to the sea. I was cocooned by the white noise of impatient water rattling past in a rare state of aggravation. Even the normally tranquil pools at the upper beat of The Burn fishing water were hurrying on their way.

We walked as far as the Rocks of Solitude, and stopped where the water fell into a black pot with a roar like a jet from RAF Leuchars passing low over the house.

They say the Rocks are so called because you can't hear your companion speaking above the noise of the rushing water – and are overcome by a sense of Solitude. When I spoke to my companions, they looked back and wagged their tails!  Money will buy a pretty good dog', the saying goes,  but it won't buy the wag of its tail'. With two dogs for companions there's no place for solitude.

Written on Saturday, December 9th, 2006 at 10:14 am for Weekly.