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.

Memories revisited

February 23rd, 2008

OLD HAUNTS sometimes get pushed to the back of the memory drawer and it's only when you clear out all the clutter that you realise what a long time it's been since you last saw them.  

The Reekie Linn is a spectacular waterfall on the River Isla, not far from Lintrathen Reservoir, and you can get to it from Alyth on the B954, or as I did, driving through Kirriemuir and taking the B951 for Glenisla. As I breasted the hill and looked down onto Lintrathen the sun broke through the clouds and brought back familiar memories of when my father took me fishing there. I turned left to Bridgend of Lintrathen and drove along the side of the reservoir. The fringes of the water were still frozen and duck were roosting on the edge of the ice.

A couple of miles further on is a fine car park and picnic spot at the start of the walk. I could see the  reek' which gives its name to the falls, before I actually got to them. The force of the water plunging some seventy five feet into a deep pool below creates a fine spray which rises above the top of the gorge, giving the impression of smoke.  Reekie' is smoky – as in Auld Reekie, or Edinburgh, and  Linn' is a pool – which explains the name. It is even more spectacular when the river is in spate after rain, for the reek rises higher than usual.

The dogs enjoyed the change of scenery. Inka nearly gave me heart failure by dashing into the river almost at the lip of the falls, and I had visions of catching up with him somewhere about Stanley. I kept my eye on Macbeth too, for the river continues through a long ravine with sheer sides in parts.

A dipper flew off a boulder round which the water boiled before flinging itself into the plunge pool below. The wee brown birds walk along beneath the surface in search of food, and this one will have found some protection from the force of the stream in the quiet water in front of the rocks on the river bottom. A great tit sitting on a hazel branch, amongst the first of the catkins, saluted the early spring sunshine with a flood of song.

I was gasping for a cup of coffee by the time I got back to the car. By great good fortune kind friends were at home when I chapped on their door, and they saved my life! I shared their pleasure at the first appearance this year of the long tailed tits, feeding on the nuts outside their kitchen window. As I took the road back to Kingoldrum a mist was settling on the reservoir and I reckoned I'd had the best of the morning.