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Discover the Secrets to Successful Gold Panning in the UK: Expert Tips and Tricks

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Gold panning can be an exciting and rewarding activity, but based on my own recent experience, it does require some skill and technique to be successful.

Three gold panners panning in the Scottish stream
Members of the SGA gold panning in the UK

Here are some tips and tricks I picked up from Leon Kirk, gold panning expert, to help you become a successful gold panner:

Location, location, location: Finding the right location to pan for gold is essential. Look for areas with a history of mining or where gold has been found before.

Timing: The best time to go gold panning in the UK is after heavy rain when the water flow is high – it is more likely to be concentrated in the stream beds. Also, try to avoid panning during the hottest part of the day when the sun can dry out the stream beds and make it harder to find gold.

Tools of the trade: Investing in high-quality gold panning equipment is essential for success. Ensure you have a good-quality gold pan, a classifier, a snuffer bottle, and a digging tool.

Technique: Mastering the right panning technique is crucial for success. Start by filling your gold pan with dirt and gravel from the stream bed. Next, add water to the pan and shake it gently from side to side. The gold will sink to the bottom of the pan, while the lighter materials will rise to the top. Use your classifier to remove any larger rocks and debris, and continue to shake the pan until only the heaviest materials are left. Use your snuffer bottle to extract any visible gold.

Patience: Gold panning in the UK requires patience and persistence. Don't give up if you don't find gold right away. Keep trying and refining your technique, and you may be surprised at what you find.

What to wear: When panning for gold, you'll be standing in a stream or river, so it's important to wear appropriate clothing. Dress in layers so you can easily adjust your clothing as needed. Make sure to wear warm, waterproof boots with good traction, as well as warm socks. You'll also need a waders suit, which you can get from the gold panning operator by giving them your shoe size, allowing for some really thick socks. And a really good tip - bring a pair of yellow washing-up gloves (Marigolds) to wear for panning in the stream.

What to bring: It's a good idea to bring a packed lunch, as you'll likely be out in the field for several hours. You may also want to bring a water bottle (or flask of hot tea) and snacks. Don't forget to bring sunscreen, insect repellent, and any necessary medications. And, of course, don't forget your sense of adventure!

If you're eager to learn more about gold panning in the UK and the history of this fascinating hobby, I highly recommend checking out some of the many books available on the subject!

So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start panning for gold! And don't forget to pick up a copy of my book for more ideas and places to visit in Great Britain. Happy prospecting!

Gold panners panning in the Scottish stream
Gold Panning in Scotland with Leon Kirk

Kim Rix

Be sure. Be smart. Buy with confidence

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