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.

Journeying back

August 29th, 2009

FAVOURITE WALKS sometimes fall out of favour for no other reason than that family circumstances change. It's been years since we walked as a family round Den of Ogil Reservoir, then our young scattered and went off to make lives for themselves. I've just renewed my acquaintance with an unfrequented and attractive corner of Angus.

Glenogil is one of the smaller Angus glens, lying between Glenquiech and wee Glen Trusta which must be the shortest glen in Angus, if not all of Scotland. I took the Menmuir road out of Edzell and after passing Shandford Farm turned right at Balquarn and drove in a long loop past Afflochie and Auchnacree.

There's a dam on the left half way along and I stopped for a moment and watched a coot and a single drake and a pair of wigeon. Young pheasants were running all about the roadside and I saw two roosting in a rowan tree. Nothing startling about that except I've never seen even one pheasant sitting in a rowan tree specifically. It might have been more notable if it had been Christmas and the bird a partridge!

Shortly before the loop meets up again with the main road to Memus and Cortachy you turn right down a single track road to the reservoir. It all looked very familiar. There's a level path along the east bank but I was glad I wore wellies because cattle have churned some parts into dubs and gutters.

Pretty blue scabious grows along the track and I was encouraged by the appearance of Painted Lady butterflies in ones and twos, attracted to the thistles. I feasted on the last of the wild raspberries.

The west bank is much more overgrown than I remember but is still quite passable. It was new country for the dogs and there was plenty to keep them interested. Macbeth scrambles through the undergrowth at his own pace but Inka still crashes about as if everything will be gone if he doesn't get there early.

The sun broke through the clouds as we started walking. I sat on a brae, beneath an old Scotch pine overlooking the water, glad to take a breather and cool down. Inka lay panting like a boiling pan and Macbeth settled down to enjoy the heat. The resiny smell from the tree and the sound of the wind in its branches was very restful. I was getting the best of the day and I felt the pleasure of solitude without feeling lonely.

A messy construction of sticks in the fork of a tree looked like an abandoned buzzard's nest. I doubt any chicks have been reared in it for several years now for weeds were growing out of the sides.

On the way home I stopped to let a young hedgehog cross the road. Is that lucky, like seeing a black cat, do you think?

Written on Saturday, August 29th, 2009 at 10:46 am for Weekly.