Tam's Tall Tales

- >Rookie Nets a 20,000 Gold Nugget


>Rookie Nets a 20,000 Gold Nugget
A nugget of gold found in a river in the Southern Uplands is thought to be the most significant discovery in Scotland in the past 70 years.

The gold panning course operates out of Wanlockhead's Museum of Lead Mining (pictured here). Museum trustee Gerard Godfrey said:

"We are absolutely delighted with such a significant find. No doubt there will be a mini gold rush once this gets out but we are very happy with that.

Weighing in at 18.1g (0.6oz), the 20 carat nugget has an estimated value of 10,000. It was discovered by a Canadian man during a gold panning course near Wanlockhead in the Lowther Hills.

However the man, known as John, was so unimpressed by his discovery, he almost threw it back in the water. He said:

"We were a few minutes into panning when I found the nugget with a bean tin, an underwater viewing tin with a glass base. I saw the piece lying just under the surface of the water and picked it up. It didn't look like much and I was just about to throw it back when I thought I should double-check with Leon first. So I said 'is this gold?' and couldn't understand his excitement. Looking at the size of the piece I still can't believe it's such a big deal but it's very interesting to watch the reactions."

His instructor, Leon Kirk, said the last significant find of Scottish gold was a fraction of the size. It was found in the area in 2002 and it weighed 4.1g (0.14oz).

"I like to tell my students that everyone goes home with a flake or two of gold, but this is exceptional," Mr Kirk said. "I always knew there were sizable nuggets in these hills but, in my decades of panning, have only found very small pieces or flakes."

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Tam O'Ranter

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