The 'exact geographical location' of Arbuthnott is on a
narrow peninsula, not more than 100 yards wide, on the north side of the river Bervie,
three miles upstream from the sea. Arbuthnott House now occupies this site. On the
north-east side the land falls steeply down to the burn, once called Buthenot, and on the
south side it slopes more gradually down to the river, lending itself perfectly to the
landscaping of a beautiful garden. In earlier, less peaceful, times it presented an ideal
site for an easily defended stronghold.
The lands of Arbuthnott, now about 2,700 acres and much
less extensive than the present parish, are almost equally divided by the river Bervie.
This river runs from the foothills of the Grampians to the sea, the area forms the eastern
rim of the 'Howe of the Mearns'. The Howe (hollow) being a huge bowl of land at the
northern end of the Vale of Strathmore in the district referred to as 'The Mearns'.
A few miles further north lie the mountains of the
'highland line', a massive geological fault which crosses Scotland from north-east to
south-west; this range of hills is the traditional division between the Highlands and the
Lowlands. The Arbuthnotts are therefore a lowland family, not a highland clan.