Geology, Outdoors

There’s Gold in Them There Hills

The Trouble is Getting It Out

Is it them/there or them/their? We find either acceptable. Anyway, gold panning is the topic of the day and whether or not it could be your new hobby is the object of conversation. Is it difficult? Can you do it in the UK? And where can you buy the best gold paydirt to try gold panning at home? Here are some of the answers that you never knew you needed until approximately thirty-five seconds ago.

Does Gold Panning Make Money in the UK?

Gold Panning is exactly how you picture it to be, based on any old westerns you have seen. You pick a river, grab a gold pan and shovel, and start digging in a stream. If you hit gold, great! 99% of you won’t hit gold. Hey… that doesn’t stop the British gold-panning champions from going on the hunt. Gold panning is a little like any other hobby. If you are good at it, you will stick with it. If you try to do it as a career? You probably won’t last a week.

Gold panning in the UK is nothing like what you see on the big gold-hunting TV shows. There are no big diggers going underground like there might be in the Curse of Oak Island. There are no white water rafting gold hunters like you see in White Water. Only a madman, or perhaps some of the Scottish crew, would attempt such craziness.

Instead, gold panning in the UK starts with a good book that tells you about your nearest locations and ends with you in the water, neck deep and with an aching back. If you are lucky, you will end a four-hour digging trip with a few specks of gold and an immense hunger for greasy chips. If not? You go out and do it all again next weekend in a different spot.

Will gold panning in the UK make you money? Maybe, if you are committed enough, the right amount of daft, and you don’t mind getting wet.

How do you pan for gold?

Panning for gold can be broken down into easy steps.

Step one:

Dig a hole deep enough to reach gold. However, deep the hole you dig, it needs to be deeper than that. Ideally, you want to dig to bedrock. In some streams and rivers bedrock is exposed, in others, you need to dig for whole feet.

Pro Tip: Always seek the landowner’s permission. Otherwise, you could be removing gold illegally, and the landlord could sue for damages!

Step two:

When you hit gravel/bedrock/paydirt you must save the material and start to run it through either your sluice or your rock sieve. The rock sieve will filter the material down into smaller particles, allowing you to wash the gold off. The material is then ready for your sluice.

Pro Tip: You cannot use motorised gold panning or digging equipment within the UK. This is because of erosion and protection of the flora and fauna.

Step three:

Put the remaining material into your gold pan and start to swirl water around it. Remove one layer of dirt, sand, or grit at a time. Pick out the biggest stones as they will obstruct smaller materials. Make sure you give them a wash on the way out of your pan just in case there is gold clinging to them.

The premise of gold panning is that gold weighs far more than most minerals. It is far heavier than water and even small pieces can withstand a small current. By swirling away one layer at a time and shaking the pan in between, you are making sure the heaviest material stays at the bottom while you wash away the lightest materials.

By consistently keeping up the routine of swirling water and washing away top layers, you will eventually be left with only the heaviest minerals in the pan. You will notice this happening because you will reach a point where the sands in your pan turn black. Gold forms in the earth at the same time as iron deposits, and these black sands often contain ground-down grits from iron and other rocks. Swirl away the black sands and you will be left with the gold.

You may need a snuffer bottle and tweezers to remove it from your gold pan. You may also wish to buy some small tubes to store your flakes of gold in until you can take them to a jeweller to be weighed and sold.

Where to pan for gold in the UK?

There is gold all over the UK. Although gold panning is legal on some Scottish estates, in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, it is not. You must ask permission from any landowner where you wish to pan before you begin. A bottle of something goes a long way.

You can find detailed areas to pan in if you pick up one of the best books in the British panning circuit. Check out Gold Occurrences in The UK by Lee Palmer. He has spent the time collating the places reported for gold within the country.

Can you try gold panning at home?

You can try gold panning at home. There is some equipment you will need to try it out. Mainly just a gold pan, a snuffer bottle, and a set of tweezers. Consider somewhere to store your gold, too.

Before you rush off to dig a hole in a river and bring back bucketloads of material, you can spare yourself a bit of effort by shopping around for gold paydirt. Now our friends at the Stone Circle have made a recommendation on this in a similar article. They have already gone to the trouble of tracking down reliable, vouched for gold paydirt suppliers both from the UK and from the US.

Reliable paydirt providers from the US and UK

There are three main reliable gold paydirt providers that TSC tracked down. These are vouched for by their clients or are associates of theirs known on the Gold Panning circuit within Britain. Believe it or not, it is a fairly tight-knit community. Bags of gold paydirt include dirt, and a little sprinkling of real gold. They may also contain black sands, gravel, and other material which gives you the experience of finding real gold amid the muck.

1 – Goldwise

Goldwise paydirt comes from a reliable source. The man who owns this operation has been operating on the FB gold panning forums since the early days. He regularly heads out to rivers and streams in Scotland where he sources the dirt for his gold paydirt bags. You can be sure that any gold found in these bags is genuine Scottish alluvial gold.

2 – Klesh

If you live in the US and you want trustworthy paydirt, fans of the Stone Circle pages recommended Klesh gold paydirt. If you live in the UK this will take a little longer to arrive. However, they sport reasonable prices and tried and tested paydirt that comes with real results.

3 – Sluiceboy

Sluiceboy is an Amazon paydirt supplier with rave reviews. We couldn’t find any bad experiences with this brand, let alone any complaints about the quality or integrity of the gold itself. They sell bigger bags and ship to both the US and the UK. Bigger bags of dirt are a better challenge for those practising to gold pan in a real river in the UK.

Five Minutes Away from a New Obsession

Looking for a new hobby that suits your lifestyle? If gold panning isn’t a fit then there are plenty of other ways that you can go hunting for treasure in the UK. Why not try hunting for rocks and crystals, or buying a metal detector and searching for buried gold? Everything is possible when you have Five Minutes Spare.

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