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.

I do like to be beside the seaside

May 28th, 2011

AFTER MONDAY'S gales Tuesday seemed the ideal day for a trip to the seaside   I bundled the dogs into the car and drove to Lunan Bay     It was the sort of May afternoon that the east coast of Scotland does so well – strong sun in a blue sky and a stiff westerly breeze blowing great banks of cumulus clouds off the land.

The firm sand left by the outgoing tide made for easy walking and it also attracted three enterprising aeronauts who drove their 4×4 on to the beach to try parasailing   This is a sport where the pilot (not the most apt technical description in this particular instance) straps on a specially adapted parachute called a parasail, and is towed behind the vehicle until the parasail fills and the pilot becomes airborne.

An old tarpaulin tied at four corners with rope and attached to a rucksack on the pilot's back seemed doomed from the outset   The would-be aviator never left the ground, dragged inelegantly along the sand rather than gracefully ascending skywards as if on gannet's wings   Doubtless it was a similar independence of spirit that drove Wilbur and Orville Wright in their endeavours to make the first successful powered flight in 1903 and become the Fathers of Flight.

Apart from the intrepid flyers, the dogs and I had the beach to ourselves   We walked from the caravan and hut community known as The Corbies at the south end of the bay, as far as the mouth of the River Lunan   Such an empty expanse of sand is bliss for Inka and I let him run free to his heart's content   Macbeth's athletic days are past and he is happy to dog my footsteps.

I watched an unusual example of mobbing   A small pack of dunlin chased a crow across the sand towards the sea   The crow twisted and dived but its aggressors wouldn't let up until their victim was well out over the water     So far as I'm aware dunlins come inland to breed like some other coastal birds such as curlews and oyster catchers – if they weren't protecting a nest, what was their reason for chasing off the crow?

Nearly hidden by drifting sand and vegetation, a brick pillbox can be seen built into the brae face overlooking the sea   An embrasure, like an empty eye socket, peers out over the bay   It's a relic of the WWII coastal anti-tank defences, built to prevent access inland in the event of invasion.

With a howling gale whistling through every aperture, these pillboxes must have provided comfortless shelter on our brutal east coast winter's nights   It would have been a soul-blistering experience for raw  toonser' soldiers, used only to city life and sent to that isolated spot, fearfully keeping look out for German storm troopers who, thankfully, never appeared.

Written on Saturday, May 28th, 2011 at 9:16 pm for Weekly.