MEADOW pipits swept up before my feet and the omnipresent songs of skylarks rained down upon me as I made my way up this Ochils track towards the summit of Craighorn by Alva Moss.

It was a wonderful warm sunny day, and there were numerous butterflies about, most noticeably small heaths and green-veined whites.

The small heath is a butterfly that is easy to overlook because of its diminutive size, but examine one closely when it comes to rest, and it soon becomes apparent that this is a creature of wondrous beauty, with its beige body and orange-edged wings.

I also spotted a small pearl-bordered fritillary – a scarce butterfly with intricate orange-patterned wings and which flies in a rather direct and purposeful manner.

Close to the top of Craighorn, spectacular drifts of bog cotton on Alva Moss rippled in the breeze like a shimmering sea, and a wind-tumbled raven drifted over a nearby ridge.

From Craighorn, I struck down towards Alva Glen where my boots inadvertently flushed a skylark from its nest hidden by a grassy tussock.

The nest was a carefully woven cup and cradled within it were two exquisite dark eggs.

I took a photo of these natural gems, and then retreated, so that the parent bird could quickly return and continue incubating.

There was an abundance of wildflowers about, too, including tormentil, with its four small brilliant yellow petals arranged like a Maltese cross.

In the past, the woody roots of tormentil were the source of a red dye – one local name for the plant being 'blood root'.

Our forebears also believed that tormentil had strong medicinal powers, including having the ability to ease toothache.

In times long past, our ancestors would have had intimate knowledge of plants and their medicinal and other useful properties; skills that we no longer possess, which is a pity, for our wild flora is one of the bedrocks that helped shaped human society over the millennia.