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.

Tale behind name

November 2nd, 2013

IT’S BEEN an interesting week. It started last Sunday when the Doyenne and I went up Glenesk to The Retreat Museum and had our high tea in the Museum’s excellent restaurant.

High tea was a meal that used to be a staple of Scottish family life but it fell out of favour. Probably something to do with TV programming and Match of the Day. There was likely an upwardly, socially mobile element involved too, but it’s making a cautious comeback.

We started with toast and butter and jam, followed by fish and chips, finishing with scones and cakes served on a traditional 3-tiered cake stand. A bit of a cholesterol fix really, but it sets you up for the evening.

We met regular reader of this column Mrs Lorna Ballie, from Brechin, up for her high tea too. She reminded me that in July I had written about the farm of Bogendreip on the B974 Cairn o’ Mount-Banchory road. We got talking about the derivation of the name.

There’s an inherent urge to discover the meaning of familiar place names, so on Tuesday I bundled the dogs into the car and drove over the Cairn to do some investigative research.

It’s turning out to be a good autumn for colour. As I headed in the sunshine past Glen Dye towards Banchory, I drove through wooded slopes ablaze with the warm, welcoming reds, yellows and browns of the seasonal foliage.

My Jamieson’s Dictionary doesn’t mention Bog or Bogen, but Dreip is defined as falling in drops and is probably Scandinavian in derivation.

Bog, a Gaelic word, means effectively what it says on the tin and has been absorbed into the modern vocabulary. The Water of Dye flows past Bogendreip so it’s natural to think that in spate it overflowed its banks, saturating the adjoining land.

By good fortune I met James Watt who had lived at and farmed Bogendreip from 1953 till 2011, so I couldn’t have found a better person to talk to. Retired now and living in Banchory, he’s kept on a bit of garden at his old home where I found him giving it an end-of-season redd up.

His explanation of the name was that low-lying land beside the burn was originally boggy, created by water dripping over rocks that formed the banks of the burn.

The old Bridge of Bogendreip was narrow and the road took a sharp left bend at the Banchory end. Tour buses and heavy vehicles found it increasingly difficult to negotiate, so the old bridge was bypassed with a new wide, straight span.

Some years earlier the old humphybackit Brig of Dye, reminiscent of a General Wade bridge (although it predates the General’s building career), was replaced for the same reason. The low chassis of the tour buses got stuck on its high crown.

The dogs needed their walk and I took them up a forest track which opened out onto a marvellous view down the strath to Finzean and the Forest of Birse and on to Mount Battock. To the east was Clachnaben with its unmistakeable granite outcrop on the summit.

Thursday was the last day of the salmon fishing season on the River North Esk and on Wednesday I optimistically joined ghillie, Jimmy Sinclair, at the Canterland beat beside Marykirk for a cast. A party of fishers from Derbyshire had had some success earlier in the week and there were plenty of fish moving upstream, but it was not to be my day.

I couldn’t even make up a fisherman’s story to tell the Doyenne about the one that got away.

We’ve been dog-sitting Rosie, daughter Cait’s rough-haired Jack Russell and it’s interesting to see the different dynamic created by a third dog in the house.

She looks remarkably like a small round biscuit barrel with legs even shorter than Macbeth’s, and a curly tail. Macbeth just ignores her other than checking for any left-overs in her bowl that he can snaffle.

What she lacks in size she makes up for in attitude and she completely dominates Inka. She stands outside the back door snarling at him and defying him to come out.

He looks back at me, like a daft black pudding, as if saying – “You’ve got to do something about this”. No chance!

Written on Saturday, November 2nd, 2013 at 10:14 pm for Weekly.