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.

A house by any other name

August 13th, 2011

REMEMBER GLENBOGLE – the fictitious Highland estate and castle where the TV series Monarch of the Glen, based on Scottish author Compton Mackenzie's comic novel of the same name, was filmed?

In reality Glenbogle is Ardverikie House which stands at the head of Loch Laggan on the A86 from Dalwhinnie to Spean Bridge and the famous memorial to the wartime commandos who underwent their basic training in the punishing Lochaber hills round their base at Achnacarry House.

The Doyenne and I made a flying visit to Glenbogle country to visit son Robert and his family and had a chance to see some of the locations used in filming   The big hoose itself is the third to be built on the site, the two earlier ones having burnt down   Unmistakably Victorian, Ardverikie's place in architectural distinction was assured when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert stayed for a month in version one while they made up their minds about buying Balmoral.

It's pedestrian access only along a three mile drive from the main road and the Gate Lodge to the house, which is built of local granite in the grandest Scottish baronial style   On the way you pass the largest inland beach in Scotland, which regularly appeared in the filming of the TV series   It was formed by sandy sediments deposited during the Ice Age, washed down the River Pattack which feeds into Loch Laggan.

There was time for an afternoon's fishing on one of the remote estate lochs and on our way through the hills we watched an osprey tumbling in the wind thermals   There are pike in Loch Laggan which provide the size of meal to satisfy an osprey, for the trout we were catching were rather small!

I've always understood that pike are not native to northern Scotland, and where you find them now they were introduced originally as a food source by the early monks bringing Christianity to the impious Picts   There's a history of ecclesiastical activity in the area and the remains of a chapel beside the loch attributed to St Kenneth, a Gaelic abbot and missionary, who accompanied St Columba to Scotland.

It was surely a month too early to be hearing greylag geese, as indeed they were, but it turned out that a resident population of the birds was established at Ardverikie before WW2 which has bred there every year since.

As I was moodily watching the midges battering on the living room window in their efforts to get at the fresh meat cowering indoors, a pair of large birds flew down the Pattack   They certainly weren't geese because greylags don't have a wide band of black feathers along the length of the back edge of their wings.

I think I saw a pair of European cranes – but I'm not sure   Is there a reader out there who can keep me right?

Written on Saturday, August 13th, 2011 at 11:16 am for Weekly.