Gold Panning(Andrew)


This book was bought as a Secret Santa present for a colleague at work. He was moving to Elgin from Glasgow. It definitely 100% should not have been in Stornoway two years ago on Christmas Day. It should not have been opened by Iain TwinBikeRun as his Christmas present.

It was meant to be a thoughtful gift to a colleague. Instead, I mixed up the presents and my colleague received Iain’s gift and had no idea why ‘Santa’ had sent him a book called “So You Want to be a Gold Digger?”.

As I said, whoops!

But the book was only part of the gift, I’d actually bought Iain a one day gold panning course at the Leadhill Goldmining Museum.

Unfortunately, COVID and lockdown meant that all courses were cancelled in 2020 and they only resumed in August 2021. Luckily, we were able to book one of the few dates this year and popped down to Wanlockhead last month to find… GOLD!!!!!

But how do you find gold?

Well, first of all you need to dig out some earth and soil and gravel from a river. Then you have to sift it using either a large plastic ridged sieve or a plastic pan, just like the prospectors of the Eighteenth century. Once sifted you have to carefully swirl the lightest soil and gravel around the pan to separate it from any gold. Gold is a heavy element so it won’t move as easily as other rocks and stones. If you swirl water around the pan then the gold should sty in place, as it’s heavier than the water, and the soil can be washed away.

While the theory is fairly simple, it takes a lot of skill to move the soil and not the gold and to keep the gold in the pan while removing larger rocks.

“How much would you make in a good day,” I ask our instructor.

“About £200” he says, which is more than I thought, but to put that into context, there were 15 people on the course and over 4 hours they made around £50, which just shows how hard it is to find gold.

Unless you’re me!

And you have the gold touch!

As I found £50 in just one pan – woo hoo! I’m going to be a trillionaire and fly into space like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk! Looks at this beauty:

Is there gold in them there hills? Absolutely!

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