GUIDE TO THE RIVER NORTH ESK
(Penicuik to the Sea)
NAME OF RIVER: River North Esk (MidLothian East Lothian).
WHERE IS IT?: Just south of Edinburgh (7 miles from city centre), runs off Pentlands down to Musselburgh at the sea.
PUT-INS/ TAKE-OUTS: Numerous entry/exit points (more or less anywhere the road crosses) - I have paddled from Penicuik to the sea
APPROX LENGTH: about 25-30 km.
TIME NEEDED: (only done in sections so total?)
ACCESS HASSLES: A small problem at the month once with fishermen.
WATER LEVEL INDICATORS: There is a drain into the river just below the Roman bridge in Musselburgh on the left bank (North bank) - if the bottom of this is covered then should be OK. If water levels are high be careful as some weirs are full width, plus Roslin Glen can be full width with trees after a major flood.
GRADING: Mostly grade I/II one grade III fall at Roslin Lee, but other big drops, and loads of weirs (all have been paddled) - but inspect.
MAJOR HAZARDS/ FALLS: Trees after a flood, large weir at old gunpowder mill (GR 265622), falls at Roslin Lee (GR 273 626) - inspect first if high, steep weir (GR 296 646) - no good for open boats, portage to left, weir (big drop) at GR 334 682) under an amazing bridge.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION: Roslin Glen is amazing, big sandstone walls, Castles, Chapels etc. Loads of history, but can be bits of rubbish washed down (paper etc.), especially after the towns. However dippers a plenty, wagtails, ducks, kingfishers, geese, water voles, deer etc can all be seen if you are lucky.
For an unusual paddle try the Auchendinny Fun Run - start at the bridge at the bottom of the hill at Auchendinny, dont put on a spray deck to start - and an unusual time is guaranteed! I wouldn't recommend this in very high water.