Nearing the end of its journey to the sea, the River Esk leaves the Buccleuch Estate at Whitecraig and flows the short distance to Inveresk, built overlooking a huge bow of the river. There has been a settlement on the site of this historic village since the Iron Age and the remains of a Roman settlement and fort can still be seen. Many of the stones on the outside walls of St Michael's Church are of Roman origin.
Watch the Video (extract from 'The North Esk River, From Source to Sea')
A small knoll known as Oliver's Mound and another mound in the kirkyard were both used by the Romans to command the approaches by land and sea and later by the Duke of Somerset in 1547 and Oliver Cromwell in 1650 for their cannon. Inveresk House was used by Oliver Cromwell as his headquarters, his horses being stabled in the church.
Inveresk Lodge was built between 1683 and 1700. The gardens were gifted to the National Trust for Scotland in 1959 by Mrs Helen Brunton and are open to the public.
The village has a remarkable collection of 18th and 19th century listed buildings, many having been owned by famous literary, legal and historical figures over the years and it is protected as part of an Outstanding Conservation Area.
The River Esk ends its journey to the sea at Musselburgh, one of Scotland's oldest towns. As early as the 7th century it was called Eskmouth but this was soon changed to Musselburgh, derived from the mussel beds near the mouth of the river. It also has the name 'Honest Toun' from the time when the Earl of Moray, friend and ally of Robert the Bruce died in the burgh in 1332. During the Earl's illness, the inhabitants formed a guard round the house and were rewarded for their devotion by his successor, the Earl of Mar who said they were 'honest fellows' in acting as they did.