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.

Poetry of wildlife photography

August 25th, 2007

COME IN ahint, ye wan'erin' tyke!/Did ever body see yer like?/Wha learnt ye a' thae poacher habits?/Come in ahint, ne'er heed the rabbits!/Noo bide there, or I'll warm yer lug!/My certie! ca' yersel' a doug?

These are the opening lines of  Dandie', a poem from a small collection of the same name, written by WD Cocker, which I came across in the bookcase. I can't remember buying it myself, but it was the sort of wee book my father would have bought. He was a great one for vernacular poetry

It survived several flittings without coming to light before and, now that I've found it, I've thoroughly enjoyed Mr Cocker's poetry. He must have lived somewhere over East Dunbartonshire way for he writes about Kippen, and about Strathendrick and Endrick Water in the Campsie Fells.

Another poem is entitled  A Covenanter'. The non-conformists were very strong in south-west Scotland and their defeat by government forces was largely due to the leadership of John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee –  Bluidy Clavers' to his enemies.

Perhaps the poet was a farmer, because Dandie was a young sheepdog. As soon as I read the lines I thought of Macbeth. He's certainly a  wan'erin' tyke' and he has poacher habits, too. If I don't keep my eye on him as we pass the rhododendrons where the rabbit burrows are he's in there like a shot, out of sight, and then there's several minutes of ineffectual threats and shouting. Many's the time I could warm his lug. But he knows his man, and as I reach a crescendo he comes creeping out shaking himself and wagging his tail as if to say – “They'll not trouble you again today”.

I've been looking at two locally designed websites which are meat and drink to a man who goes walking with two dogs. Niall Benvie is one of our most prolific writers on nature photography. He has recently updated his website of, now, over 7000 wildlife images which is especially strong in its coverage of Scottish wildlife and landscape. Visit to see our countryside as you may not have seen it before.

Willie Newlands and Dorothy Walker (like me, a Montrosian) have recently launched which is a photographic journal of their travels round the world. There are articles and photos of destinations as far away as the Australian Great Barrier Reef and Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve. Photos taken nearer to home specially caught my eye, like the cuddly ferret and our native grey partridge, and the Irish eagle with Scots parentage. And they give some excellent tips on how to take great wildlife pictures.

I wish I had their skills – maybe it's more patience I need – but it's a joy to share in such experiences and enthusiasm.


Buy the newly published  collection of   ‘Man with two dogs – A breath of fresh air from Scotland’   direct from the publishers   by Angus Whitson, Scotland’s favourite dog walker.

Written on Saturday, August 25th, 2007 at 8:37 pm for Weekly.