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.

Powerless flight

October 3rd, 2009

LAST SATURDAY, you may recall, was an absolute  sconer' – the sun shone out of a peerless sky and there was just the breath of a wind to shake the heads of the grasses. The Doyenne took an executive decision to abandon all our sensible plans for the weekend – nothing was so urgent that it couldn't wait till another day.

One thing we did do was bundle up all the newspapers, cardboard, bottles and other recyclable waste and take it to the recycling centre. It's staggering how much domestic discard just two people and two dogs can accumulate so quickly. A 15kg dog food plastic bag filled with old newspapers and magazines weighed as much as when it was full of its original contents.

Having reaffirmed our green credentials we headed for the Cairn o' Mount. Half way up, what looked like a black cat lay dead by the roadside. As we passed I saw it was a melanistic cock pheasant, a victim of hit and run.

I stopped to have a look and even in death he was still a beauty. The black feathers were shot through with iridescent green that still shimmered in the sunshine. Scarlet wattles round his eyes stood out against the dark head and the collar of white feathers of the much more widespread Common Pheasants was absent. I could tell from the short spurs on the back of his legs that he was this year's brood. If he hadn't been so damaged by the collision I'd have taken him home and cut off the breasts for the Doyenne to make a tasty meal.

A man, his brow beaded with perspiration and with a parachute under his arm, peched up through the heather to the view point at the top of the hill. On holiday in Spain, driving across the Sierra Nevada, on our way back from visiting the Alhambra Palace in Granada, the Doyenne and I first saw paragliding. The Sierra Nevada is Spain's highest mountain range and we watched the flyers run a few paces downhill to fill their canopies and soar, along with the eagles, out over the valley and land several kilometres below.

The updraft was so light at the top of the Cairn that my birdman reckoned he would drive to the coast and fly off St Cyrus cliffs instead, where he could be sure of a sea breeze coming off the water and the chance of some proper flying.

I went into the internet to find out a bit more about this aerial sport of paragliding. I learned that the flyers  flare out' as they come in to land. Without time to investigate further I presume it just means that as they make landfall they hit the flair. What do they expect if they fling themselves off the top of St Cyrus cliffs?

Written on Saturday, October 3rd, 2009 at 9:02 pm for Weekly.