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.

An overdue visit

September 14th, 2013

MY MENTION a fortnight ago of Peasiehill Road in Arbroath brought interesting responses from two readers.

Retired Arbroath solicitor, Graham McNicol, wrote to say that the road would have taken its name from the adjacent farm of Peasiehill. He also pointed out that there is a Teuchit Law on Peasiehill Farm which is shown on the old Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1858, but not on my up-to-date OS Explorer map (no. 382).

Peasie, teuchit, peewit, lapwing – all names for the same bird, and Graham reflected on whether the farm took its name from the Law, or which came first. Another conundrum which perhaps another reader can throw light on.

I learnt that it was at Peasiehill Farm in 1906 that Mr John Brown introduced the Golden Wonder potato. A floury, maincrop potato which was universally popular fifty years ago, it’s still a firm Scottish favourite. Fish and chip shops used to advertise that their chips were Golden Wonders.

William Lyall, retired Arbroath roofing contractor, recalled “vast flocks” of over-wintering peasies gathering on the fields by the coast and up Arbirlot Brae.

Such sights are memories only now. Being ground nesting birds, changes in agricultural practise have reduced the peasies’ nesting sites, although other factors have affected their numbers. It’s the perennial problem, weighing the needs of wildlife against the need to provide the nation’s food.

William’s father worked on the land in the glory days of horses and William remembers his stories of moving peasies’ nests and eggs to safety when he was ploughing. Eventually the horse stopped automatically whenever it spotted eggs.

During World War II a training air station for Fleet Air Arm pilots, RNAS (Royal Navy Air Station) East Haven was established at Hatton Farm, a couple of miles south of Arbroath. Being a naval establishment it was commissioned as HMS Peewit – a reference, surely, to the numbers of the birds to be seen in the area.

Growing up in Montrose I was introduced to my first Angus glen, Glenesk, about 1945, when petrol rationing eased at the end of the war and family outings became possible.

It’s little surprise, therefore, that Glenesk is my special glen. My father grew up in Kirriemuir and he walked the hills of Clova and Prosen, and of the two Prosen was probably his favourite.

Despite having them on our doorstep it had been too long since the Doyenne and I had visited any of the glens other than Glenesk. Bundling the dogs into the car we headed for Prosen.

We took the familiar road along the west shoulder of Strathmore from Edzell via Tigerton, Fern and Memus, past Cortachy Castle with its pepperpot towers and through Dykehead where the road splits to Clova and Prosen

We had our first sight of the impressive new memorial to Antarctic explorers Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Dr Edward Wilson, unveiled last year at the foot of the glen, at a bend in the road known as Scott’s View.

There’s been a church at Prosen village, at the head of the glen, for 400 years. We arrived as a wedding party were leaving the friendly building – what a delightful place to start that particular journey in life. Inside, wood panels above the altar, carved by Sir William Lorimer, were an unexpected find.

The Minister’s Road leads from the back of the church, across the hills, to Glen Clova – so-called because the minister walked the road twice each Sunday to take services in the neighbouring glen. They were hardy chiels in them days!

Crossing Prosen Water at Spott Bridge, we headed back down the glen.

In the middle of the road, oblivious to all traffic, two juvenile cock pheasants were squaring up to each other – all part of their growing up process and preparation for adulthood. In spring and the breeding season they’ll be challenging other cock pheasants for the affections of hen pheasants to make up their harems. They’ll not see next spring if they choose the middle of the road for their shenanigans.

Whines of protest from Inka and we found a forestry track near Shielhill Bridge to walk the dogs. In fairness we should have found somewhere earlier, but there had been so much of interest to catch up on.

Written on Saturday, September 14th, 2013 at 8:29 am for Weekly.