I’ve been unable to participate in metal detecting for a period of time, luckily just as I regained the ability to pick up my machine, a group i am a member of on Facebook, announced an organised rally only 12 miles from my workplace, and again with luck, i was actually on overtime last Sunday. So without further ado, i contacted the organiser – Kirsty Booth and put my name down. As i mentioned, its been a while since i was able to swing my machine, so i spent quite a few hours both anxious and excited.

Kirsty is one of the organisers of Find a field Metal Detecting Group UK on Facebook and having been a member for a few weeks, have noted the number of organised events both herself and her partner – Keiron Storrs, have arranged.

So I jumped into my car after finishing work and made my way the short distance to the wilds of Derbyshire, on the edge of the Peak District national park. I arrived a short while after the event started and popped over to find the days coordinators, check in and introduce myself. Kirsty unfortunately was unable to attend, but Keiron and his marshalls were all very warm and welcoming and we chatted briefly about Find a field Metal Detecting Group UK, The Archaeology and Metal Detecting magazine and general Metal detecting.

So off I set, Attempting to remember my metal detecting manner, and checking my equipment etc. At this point, i realised my spade was still in the car. I also had no waist bag or proper earphones, as i borrowed them to my co-editor, Luke Higgins at Detectival 2018, and forgot to get them back. So i utilised my equipment and pockets with my tools etc and toddled off.

On this occasion, instead of using my usual machine – the Minelab Etrac, I instead took 2 other machines which I had not yet had opportunity to try. The Rutus Alter 71 and the CScope CS440xd Which i am currently in the process of testing and reviewing for CScope.

I had never used either machine and began with the Rutus, off i set and found my muscle memory hadn’t forgot my swing and step. Immediately I began to have hits. Generally Iron, I decided to dig all metal, My first signal was an old, square nail. This was quickly followed by the inevitable half horseshoe, spent cartridges and even something as minuscule as a modern pellet. I decided to play with the settings, which were very easy to understand, and felt I had a good basic understanding of the settings. I discriminated the iron value to a level i felt appropriate and straight away was gifted, to me , a fantastic artifact. As i stood and tried to make out what the long thin, hinged item was, a fellow detectorist offered his assistance. Not much to many people, but in a fascinating hobby, which brings a buzz that sometimes you need to have to continue detecting, when some days you find nothing. It was the find i needed and the feeling I wanted, a set of Victorian Nutcrackers. Yes it could have been gold, silver, a hammered coin or a hoard. But I have a penchant for artifacts that tell a story and are able to tell a story of its loss… A Victorian farmer walking his land, cracking nuts as a snack and missing his pocket when putting them away, only to fall deeper below the ground over 150 years, only for me to re discover them.

I had chats with many detectorists and remembered the social aspect of such events. I was even able to receive tips on the machine by fellow users.

At 12pm, a new field was being opened, so i popped for a drink and a sandwich and changed over to the  CScope CS440xd.

Now, I have an affinity with CScopes, and have not used one since I was around 6 years old with my Dad. An image of my Dad and I in the 1970s is available to read on the CScope website. This was after contacting CScope to identify the machine, an old CScope 600 series, where my affinity begins and memories of my Dad remain.

The CScope CS440xd  is an entry level, analogue machine. Developed to introduce people to the hobby, for little over £100 and includes everything the new starter requires as part of its package. This Starter kit Includes a Search head cover, Alkaline PP3 battery, Mini headphones and small digger. And all items means no worries about buying other more expensive items, usually needed in the hobby. A nice touch.

Within 2 minutes of entering the field, I had my first hit, an unrecognisable coin, briefly after followed by a modern Polish coin and a George VI half penny. I meandered around a tad longer, but after a very early start at work, I decided to call it a day. I found Keiron and thanked him before making my way home, via a brief visit to Arbor Low henge, a neolithic circle not 15 minutes away from the site.

All in all, I had a great time at an exceptionally well organised and managed event. Usually Keiron has drink and snack facilities available, but a vehicle issue meant they ere not available this week. That’s not a problem however, as most folk bring there own. A nice touch though.

I think most involved each found an abundace of coins, buckles, musket balls and buttons. Although find of the day was probably the gold and jewelled watch winder, a beautiful item, and also a snake buckle. I’ll put my nutcrackers up there too….

A delightful day, Kudos to Kirsty and Keiron and their fellow organisers. Keep up the hard work. I liked it so much i’m going out on Sunday 25th February in Staffordshire with them.

Find the Find a field Metal Detecting Group UK here.

Dave Sadler – Editor