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.

History’s fabric

February 19th, 2011

IT'S WEEKS since I was last down at the beach, so I bundled the dogs into the car and drove to Kinnaber for a favourite walk down the bank of the River North Esk.

The dogs love it   Inka has freedom to race about to his heart's content   Macbeth is more circumspect and takes time to investigate every new scent.

What with snow melt and days of endless rain the river was high with spate   Nearing the coast it becomes tidal and where the downstream flood meets the incoming tide it has burst its banks which are littered with debris.

The sea hides powerful forces beneath its surface and I could hear lumpy waves crashing onto the shore   There must have been some heavy storms over the winter for a strand of pebbles has been cast up on the high water mark   The incoming tide must have dredged them from several hundred yards out for normally there is only clean sand down to the low water mark.

There's a break in the dunes where the salmon fishers drove their tractor onto the beach when they went to empty the salmon nets   The fishermen and the nets are all gone now   Only the stumps of the stakes which the fishing nets were secured to remain as reminders of this ancient occupation.

 €œDragons teeth €, wartime concrete blocks sunk into the sand to prevent German tanks landing on Montrose Bay and driving inland, have been exposed by erosion of the dunes by the sea   So called after Jason of the Golden Fleece in Greek mythology, who sowed dragons' teeth which instantly grew into ferocious warriors.

I'm sure I remember seeing them as a child after the war – which means that the sea covered them with sand and now, some fifty years on, it has washed the sand away to reveal them again.

I hesitate to repeat a funny story when the teller of it laughs longest and loudest – but here we go   The Chief Executive of the Dunlop Tyre Company came on a business trip to Scotland from his headquarters in America, and called at a fashionable Highland outfitter to enquire about the Dunlop tartan.

 €œI have the very thing you are after €, exclaimed the proprietor, producing an attractive red-based tartan   The chief executive was delighted and ordered  €œa pair of kilts € for himself, a tartan skirt for his wife and trews for his two teenage sons.

Arrangements for making up and delivering the valued order were finalised and the customer shook hands with everyone and departed      €œThat was a bit of a dirty trick € said the shop assistant to his boss,  €œyou know that looks nothing like the Dunlop tartan €    €œNot a bit of it €, replied his boss, unperturbed,  €œthey've been Macintyres for years! €

Who says the old ones are always the best?

Written on Saturday, February 19th, 2011 at 9:54 pm for Weekly.