Useful Tips For Soil Skimmers
Hi, I’m Cal, a down-to-earth detectorist.
Metal-detecting has been an interest of mine since I first had a go way back in the seventies. My sister and I had a loan of a primitive (by modern standards) Garrett detector and we took it along a canal towpath. We were delighted with the few coins, badges and buttons, that we managed to extract from among the discarded tin-foil and ring-pulls in the iron-infested ground.
I was hooked from that day on but my detecting excursions were rare over the following decades, due to both not owning a detector and having nowhere to use one. Even so, I did get out a few times in the Eighties, with a borrowed C- Scope, and found a few Victorian pennies and such like. Sometime in the Nineties I bought a cheap, basic, detector but, again, found nothing older than 19th/20th century coins and some junk jewellery.
It was in 2014 that I upped my game. I’d long since mislaid my old detector and hadn’t been out in well over a decade. Then one day, as I was driving along a country road in Scotland, I was surprised to see about twenty or more people fanning out across a farm field, each dressed head to foot in outdoor gear and swinging a coil before them. This was a revelation to me; these guys were not amateurs – they were professional detectorists!
Of course I’d heard of the existence of detecting clubs, and had seen the activities and finds recorded in a few treasure hunting magazines and books, but it was apparent that most events were based hundreds of miles south, in England. I’d also searched online for any clubs in my area with little success. Indeed the only one mentioned at the time had been disbanded.
But now, seeing these guys in action had awakened a new interest in the hobby for me. I wanted to know who they were and how I could get to join them.
Coincidentally I was on my way to visit my aforementioned sister at the time. I told her about the detectorists I’d just seen and that sparked her interest too. Subsequently we both – independently – went on to sign-up to a Scottish online forum and get involved in their organised digs. Of course, for this we needed to buy some state-of-the-art kit.
We soon found how things have changed since our early days in the game. The old non-motion detectors have mostly been superseded by motion detectors. Pinpointers are now essential and I find it laughable how we ever managed without them. Also, hammered silver (or rarely, gold) coins, which I’d never known of, are – for many UK detectorists – the prize target.
So for the last four years, since becoming a “born again detectorist,” I’ve been detecting regularly, on club digs, charity digs and on my own permissions. I have become much more successful at, and knowledgeable about, the game than ever before, and though I don’t profess to be an expert, I’ve certainly put in hundreds of hours in the field – literally – and have learned a lot. Based on my own experience, I hope to pass on some hints and tips and inspire others to take up the fun hobby of metal-detecting.
I intend to write regular blogs detailing any interesting finds or details of both my own outings, and organised digs, and indeed other general matters relevant to the hobby. Ultimately I hope this will help to inform those starting out in detecting, of available resources, and help them to make good decisions as regards choosing equipment, dig locations, permissions, historical maps, research, code of conduct, reporting finds, etcetera.
If you ever need help or have any questions, feel free to post them below and I will be happy to reply.
All the best,
Cal, a down-to-earth detectorist.