The benefit of a club

Some 22-years ago, my late wife bought me my first metal detector – a Viking 5. However, though I tried it out a few times, my job conspired against me and a new night shift ensured it was confined to the loft – not to see the light of day for decades.

That job has a lot to answer for, not only did it nip my first few outings in the bud, I’m now retired on ill health grounds after 40 years graft!

Return to the attic
Stumbling on the memory of the machine, I dug about in the loft, blew the dust of the box, and decided to rekindle my efforts. Of course, I had no idea where to go. Luckily a friend of my second wife was a member – so I contacted him.

‘Dave’ invited me to the next club meeting and – over a cup of tea – I met a lad that I had worked with for around 20 years! Swings and roundabouts.

We started talking machines – and I told him the story about my Viking. Right away, I got some useful advice:

Good for beaches mate, for sand – not the best on land…

The recommendations ensued. A Minelab? Perhaps. A Garrett? After much milling about online, I ended up with the Garrett AT Pro.

I’ve been using the Garrett since December last year. The main thing that struck me was the difference in audio. It plays more tunes than Radio one – and took a bit of getting used to.

The advice continued, almost right away I met a lad called Paul on a club dig who had the same machine. In two shakes of a lambs tail I was gifted some really useful settings – which seemed to work for the better.

Queen Victoria bun head half penny 1863

Queen Victoria bun head half penny 1863

Although I’ve only been on a few club digs I’ve found a little already. Crucially, every signal is an exciting one – which is what I love about this pastime. From Tombac buttons, a nice run of late Victorian and Georgian coinage, my best by far was a Barbarous Radiate coin – which dates to AD275-285. Sadly, after checking with our excellent FLO Vanessa, it was too far gone to make out who the ruler was.

However, I don’t mind at all – just finding things, and then getting an idea of what they are, and why they came to be lost – is fascinating. Our hobby might not make us all millionaires, but we each have the chance to engage with history – and all it stories – directly.

Need a harness?
My health is not the best, but this doesn’t stop me enjoying the hobby. I cut down to a 5 X 8 coil to offer the machine some lightness, and a pro-swing 45 harness really helps. Despite the poor health, how many activities offer the chance to get out amongst it, scaling pasture and plough-land?

Barbarous Radiate coin [AD 275-285]

Barbarous Radiate coin [AD 275-285]

Old man seeks land
The hardest part – as we all know – is getting some land to detect on. So, if anyone want to take out a semi-knackered old man out for a few hours detecting, I’ll be there – with bells on.

At the end of the day, the importance of having an excellent, well-run club is obvious. The company, the constant advice, the history and the stories that form so much of our hobby and the good fresh air.


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