A RARE calm sunny day brought in the immediate aftermath of Storm Eunice enticed me into the embrace of the Ochils where snow covered the tops in an enticing veil of sparkling white.

My starting point was Alva Glen, where the signs of spring were all around, including glossy, green ramson leaves unfurling from the ground and the gentle melody of a singing robin permeating the languid air.

My route took me up the track that passes between The Neb and Wood Hill, before I struck on towards Ben Ever.

My initial plan was to skirt round the edge of Ben Ever, but the snow had drifted deep upon its lee slope, so it was easier to climb to the top, and then onto my final target of Ben Cleuch.

The conditions were almost Alpine, such was the stillness of the air, the brightness of the sun and the deep carpet of snow.

Although beautiful, this was a stark and unforgiving environment and there was little sign of wildlife, apart from a pair or ravens perched on a fence near the summit of Ben Cleuch, which soon flew away on black-tumbled wings.

Ravens are intriguing birds and are much more frequent in Clackmannanshire today than compared to a couple of decades ago, presumably because their persecution has declined.

The raven has been both reviled and revered from early historical times – but probably more of the former with the bird inextricably associated with ill-fortune, suspicion and fear.

Much of this notoriety stems around the belief that ravens are never far away whenever there is the hint of a carcass to feast upon.

Shakespeare's Macbeth refers to the raven croaking himself hoarse on the fatal entrance of Duncan, and King Kenneth 1 of Scotland was hailed as the 'raven feeder' in reference to the bodies of his opponents left behind on the field of battle.

No doubt this is the reason why marauding Vikings so eagerly welcomed the appearance of ravens as an omen of victory.

The raven is certainly a prolific scavenger and those in the Ochils will no doubt benefit from sheep carcasses.

I lingered on the top of Ben Cleuch for several minutes, soaking-up the marvellous view, before making my descent towards the much more benign environment of Alva Glen.

On my arrival back into its protective confines, the gentle song of the warbling robin could soon be heard once more, its sweet music rising above the gurgling rush of the Alva Burn.