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A cache by The Lost Marmal Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 4/21/2004
2 out of 5
3 out of 5

Size: Size: regular (regular)

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Geocache Description:

This is a multi virtual cache with a traditional cache container at the end, with an optional virtual cache thrown in for good measure - if you can complete it before 10pm!  It has been inspired by Firth of Forth’s excellent tour of Leith: Ships, Claret & Golf, so those of you that have completed that one will have an idea of what to expect here.  Only this time you’ll be touring the Honest Toun of Musselburgh.


So, where to begin?  Well, how about an explanation of how the Honest Toun won its reputation?


1. The Mercat Cross.  N055.56.588 W003.02.884

This is a good starting point, as you can park the car here – if full, try further along the High Street to the East.  The Mercat Cross stands over on old well and marks the location of the Midraw, a row of houses that used to stand in the High Street.  A lion holding the Burgh Coat of Arms - three mussels and three anchors - surmounts the Tuscan pillar.  The mussels because of the extensive mussel beds that lined the shore and the anchors to represent the fishing traditions that provided a living to the community for centuries.


There is a plaque on the base of the Mercat Cross that tells the story of the Regent of Scotland, Randolph, Earl of Moray, friend and ally of Robert the Bruce, who was devotedly cared for during a long illness by the local inhabitants until his death.  When his successor, Donald, Earl of Mar offered to reward the townspeople for their loyalty they declined saying they were only doing their duty.  The new Regent was impressed by this attitude and said that they were all honest men.  From that time onward Musselburgh has been known as the Honest Toun. 


The first co-ordinate numbers you will need are from the year the unfortunate Earl of Mar passed away in 13KA.


2. The Racecourse.  N055.56.730 W003.02.642

There are a few places of interest on the way to the co-ordinates above.  Set well back from the pavement is the Parsonage, the Musselburgh residence of Sir Walter Scott.  Next door at No. 13 you can still see some stones with diagonally chiseled faces through the foliage – these can be traced back to the Roman garrison at Inveresk.  No. 7 High Street is known as the French Ambassador’s House and its 4 dormer finials are the emblems of Scotland, France, England and Ireland (some are more recognisable than others).  On either side of the street are the Pinkie Pillars, built in 1770 and originally much closer together.  The urns are carved with the Burgh coat of arms and again some of the Roman stones are incorporated into the pillars – more early recycling!  Behind the stone walls as the High Street heads away from the town centre are the grounds of Loretto School.  These are private grounds, but it is possible to visit the historic Pinkie House on Tuesday’s between 2 and 5 pm during the summer and autumn terms.


Musselburgh Racecourse has seen something of a regeneration in recent years and now has racing all year round both on the flat and over fences.  You are looking for the year that the course was established in 1L1B.


The Racecourse is used for various events including the New Year Sprints – for people, not horses!  It is also where the Royal Company of Archers, formed in 1676 and the Sovereign’s bodyguard in Scotland since 1824 compete annually for the Silver Arrow.  It is claimed that this is the oldest sporting trophy in the World and has been contested without interruption since its inception.


3.  The Old Course Golf Links.  N055.56.923 W003.02.634

Hallowed turf for golfers, this is said to be the oldest golf links still playable in the World.  It has played host to the Open Championship 6 times, although you wouldn’t think so now, looking at the place.  Indeed, the town was well to the fore in establishing the game and the street alongside the racecourse bears evidence to this.  Four well known golf clubs had their clubhouses here.  From South to North these were the Bruntsfield Links Golfing Society from 1861 to 1900 (now the Wiremill Club), the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers from 1865 to 1891 (when they moved to Muirfield), Royal Musselburgh (now 2 miles to the East of the town) until 1925 and finally the Royal Burgess from 1873 to 1894.  Musselburgh has produced 5 Open Champions, winning a total of 11 titles between them and men from the town also played a great part in developing golf courses in the US in the 1890’s.


On a plaque in the starter’s hut you will find the first and last years the Old Course hosted the Open Championship.  Take the first from the last to give co-ordinates CM. 


Before carrying on with the quest, take a look over to the East.  The ground from the Racecourse to the Firth of Forth is part of a land reclamation scheme and there are big plans afoot for the area.  The Racecourse is to be extended, a 9 hole Golf Course is to be created and more controversially, a sports facility for the use of the community, Queen Margaret University and Hibernian Football Club is proposed.  However, there have been protests about this and it has still to be resolved.  But in years to come, the place could well look quite different.


4.  Time Capsule Cairn.  N055.56.777 W003.03.651

Now head over to the mouth of the River Esk, near the Cadets’ Buildings at N055.56.987 W003.02.914.  There is plenty of bird life to be seen in these parts, including a large swan colony.  Walk back towards town and cross the river at the first bridge.  Now make your way back to the mouth of the river and follow the path along the coast towards the harbour.  On the way, you’ll find a small cairn that contains a time capsule.  The year the capsule is to be opened will give you the next co-ordinates, 2D5N.


5.  Fisherrow Harbour.  N055.56.792 W003.04.129
Mainly used now for pleasure craft, the harbour has been used since Roman times.  The fishing community is still strong in the town and holds a walk every year where their traditional costumes are worn.  The fisher-women were once a colourful sight on the streets of Edinburgh, where they would sell the fish caught by their menfolk in the North Sea.  Your next co-ordinate is the number of legs on the harbour light at the end of the harbour wall.  (To settle the arguments, it’s an odd number!).  You should now have co-ordinate E.


6.  Mile Marker.  N055.56.637 W003.04.054

Not far from the harbour is a stone marker telling you how far it is to Edinburgh, just in case you didn’t know.  This gives co-ordinate F.  This is a very busy road so take care in crossing it!


7.  Hayweights Clock.  N055.56.433 W003.03.474

The next landmark on the list has only moved here in recent times.  Originally positioned near the Brunton Hall, the Hayweights clock was removed when the Brunton Hall was being built.  It languished for years in a builder’s yard before finally being erected in its present position.  The clock and its bell shaped roof topped the building where various goods and produce were weighed and revenue gathered for the town.  The clock was a gift from Mr A.D.M. Black in 190G.


8.  Macbeth Moir Memorial  N055.56.518 W003.03.272

You may have already crossed it on the way to the previous site, but you will definitely pass it going to the next one.  I’m referring to what is known in the town as the Roman Bridge, although it is actually a mediaeval bridge built on the site of a Roman bridge and probably conceals part of the Roman structure.  This was on the route from the fort at Inveresk to Cramond and the Antonine Wall, which stretched the length of the Forth-Clyde valley.


Bruntons Wiremill once dominated this side of the river, but only fragments of this great enterprise now remain.  It made wire and rope and was world renowned for doing so.  Cables from Bruntons are holding up suspension bridges around the Globe, for example the Humber, the Bosphorous, in Quebec and our own Forth Road Bridge.


The next port of call on our trail is the Delta memorial to poet, author and physician David Macbeth Moir, where you will find the next co-ordinates you are seeking.  Macbeth Moir was born on 06/0H/1798.


9.  Rennie’s Bridge.  N055.56.538 W003.03.264

A short hop to the next co-ordinate on the trail on the main road bridge over the Esk.  Until the bypass opened in 1986, this was actually the main road South (the A1) and is still a very busy crossing.  It was built in 18I6.


10.  St. Micheals Kirk.  N055.56.220 W003.03.078

A church has been on this site since the 6th Century and the present Kirk dates from 1805. The Roman fort referred to earlier was to the West of the Kirk and many important Roman finds have been made throughout Inveresk and during the building of the Grammar School to the North.  On the front of the Kirk is a sundial with Roman numerals on it.  Translate them to get the final co-orinates, 17JP.


The Bonus cache is a short walk from here at N055.FB.CED W003.IJ.AHG.  Good Luck!


From the Bonus cache you have 2 choices for your return to the centre of town.  If you have time, carry on along the path, down the stairs and keep going alongside the river.  This will bring you through more of Musselburgh’s industrial heritage, the paper and net mills.  If time is short, head East towards Inveresk and down the hill into town.


The virtual cache is well worth a visit at N0055.MB.FLK W003.NA.LAP.  Enjoy!


Near the Mercat Cross is the Old Town Hall and Tollbooth.  The clock tower is much older than the rest of the building, as was the clock it housed, which was given to the town by Dutch merchants in 1496.  The clock was replaced in 1883.  In 1590 the Chapel of Loretto was demolished and the materials were used for building of the Tollbooth.  To show his disapproval of this act, the Pope bestowed upon the people of Musselburgh the dubious distinction of being excommunicated annually.  So just as our walk has come full circle, so has the town’s reputation – from honesty to excommunication.  Honestly!


Here’s a handy wee table for noting down the co-ords.

































Click to go to the Mega Scotland web site

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Pnpur ybpngrq orgjrra gjb orapurf (nobhg 25 cnprf onpx sebz gur frpbaq orapu nf lbh tb sebz gur Xvex). Tb oruvaq gur snyyra ohfu naq jnyx nybat hagvy lbh frr n ybt.Gur pnpur vf uvqqra ng gur ybt.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)



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