Laurencekirk is the centre of agricultural life of the Mearns despite its recent rapid expansion as a dormitory town for Aberdeen’s oil industry. Laurencekirk is surrounded by the lush red soil characteristic of the Mearns and framed by Garvock hill to the west. There is a thriving Cattle Market and agricultural engineering industry in Laurencekirk.

The name Laurencekirk is known worldwide to snuff users as the generic term for the snuffbox with a definitively engineered hinge first made by Charles Stiven in the town.

Garvock Hill marks the western border of the Howe of the Mearns. In ancient times it was covered in a hunting forest used by the noblemen of the area. The most famous hunting trip was in 1420 when on the order of the King the prey was John Melville Sheriff of Kincardine. Legend has it that after the murder the Sheriff was boiled in the Sheriff’s kettle and the broth drunk by his slayers.

The folly Johnston Tower was built with leftover materials from the Johnston Lodge. It sits atop Garvock Hill and its distinctive shape was a symbol used in linen design from the Laurencekirk mills in the valley below.

Currently Garvock Hill is the source of some controversy. It is the proposed site of a wind farm that has strong opinions marshalled on both sides of the debate.