We are lucky enough to have a gold filled river running through the park, which you are free to pan in whilst staying with us.
Step by step guide
- Using a small spade or trowel, fill your gold pan half to two thirds full of sediment from the riverbed. Sometimes, it is useful to use a classifer. This is a sieve that allows you to filter out larger pieces of rock and debris, and sits on top of the pan. The most common size has a half inch hole mesh.
- Now submerge the gold pan completely under water and break up any large clumps of dirt or clay using your hands. Remove any floating vegetation and large pieces of rock. If you are using a classifer, this should remove them for you and all you then have to do is remove the classifer from the pan, discarding the contents.
- Lift the pan above the water and swirl the contents, including sediment, so that it moves like a liquid. Use plenty of water in the pan and either shake from side to side or use a vigorous circular motion.
- Then, while still moving the pan around or side to side, lower it back into the river so that the sediment is just below the surface of the water. Ensure the pan is slightly tilted forward, with the ridges (“riffles”) facing forwards. Swirl the contents round and round, up and down, and back and forth to create a strong movement of water. The water should flow over the sides of the pan with all the lightest material flowing out with it. (Gold is heavier than most of this sediment, so will remain in the pan.) The trick is to ensure that the sediment comes out gradually over the edge of the pan, while ensuring there is enough turbulence to “lift” the lighter material. Repeat Stage d at least four times and, every time you have finished, refill the pan with water.
- Once you have done this, you should have about a cup full of sediment left in the pan. At this stage, repeat Step 4, but this time, you should ideally use a second gold pan, which is placed underneath the first pan, to catch the material washing out of the pan. This is because, when you get down to smaller amounts of material, there is a chance some gold could escape. The second pan acts as your safety net. Any material collected in this way can then be put to one side to be included in the next batch of sediment.
- The remaining sediment is likely to contain black sands, which tend to be heavier than other sediments and are hard to get rid of. To remove these, shake the sieve slightly while sieving. The shaking needs to create vibration. This is the key to this stage. Vibrations are better than vigorously swirling the sediment around, because you want the sand to jump up the riddles. Once this is removed, the gold is at much lower risk of being accidently discarded, as it can no longer stick onto the grains of sand.
- Finally, repeat Steps c, d and e as many times as needed, so that you end up with just a tablespoon of material. Add one cup of water to the pan and tilt the pan gently back so the material is on the higher side, and then gently shake and swirl the material in the bottom of the pan to space it out. At this point, you should be able to see most of gold should show up. For the smaller gold fragments and flakes, move the pan around, tapping the sides to shake around the sediment.
- Either use tweezers to remove the gold flakes or a large wide pipette or sniffer bottle to squeeze and suck them up followed by a little additional water, and place the flakes into a vial.
With part of the local area now being developed into Scotland’s only Gold Mine, it is fast becoming a popular activity by both young and old, amateurs and professionals alike, why not give it a try, you never know.