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.

Cutting edge

January 10th, 2009

WELLINGTON BOOTS aren't the most glamorous Christmas present, but for me they were certainly the most practical one that I received. My grumbles about cold feet when out walking were not lost on the Doyenne who gave me a pair of rocket science wellies with bamboo carbon thermal fleece linings that have transformed my walks with Macbeth.

I shouldn't want you to think that chilly toes are an age thing – when the blood thins and you're not as sharp as you used to be, and not even a hearty toot of the Auld Cratur can pep up the red corpuscles. Age has nothing to do with it. It's all about being suitably dressed for the elements and able to snap your fingers at the weather's worst. My toesies are so much warmer now, and knowing all about that bamboo carbon has put a spring and a swagger in my step.

A lesson well learnt from my father was that comfort and warmth are all-important when walking the hills, or even just walking dogs within sight of home. I bought my first waxed jacket when I was about twenty-one, an age when my father had been an enthusiastic and experienced walker of the hills and glens of Angus. His advice was to ensure it was long enough to completely cover the area of my kidneys. In his experience if the kidneys got chilled the rest of the body quickly followed suit.

I followed his advice and bought a jacket which came down nearly to my knees. It was waterproof and, just as important, windproof. I don't recall ever getting truly chilled when wearing it and it was after only 39 years of loyal service that I felt I had to replace it. Folk were starting to recognise me for my disreputable clothing rather than my boyish good looks. It deserved better than just being thrown in the bin, so I gave it a decent send-off and cremated it on the garden bonfire.

I've mentioned before the benefits of a sturdy tweed cap to keep your head dry and warm. Forty percent of the body's heat escapes out of the top of your head. It's scary to think that our carbon footprint could actually be situated above our brains and that all over the world, every moment of the day, several billion people are belching tons of climate-threatening emissions out of their cranial lums! Comforting, therefore, to know that when I put my cap on I trap the global warming and recycle it back to my feet, which are cosily encased in the rocket science bamboo carbon.

To ensure seamless, all-round heat conservation perhaps I should invest in a pair of long johns. But that could create its own problems and I'd worry when I put them on that I'd come to the boil!

Written on Saturday, January 10th, 2009 at 10:38 pm for Weekly.