The most significant gold nugget discovery in the history of Scotland in the last 70 years is a 20 carat gold nugget, weighing about 18.1g or 0.6 oz, with a value estimated at £10,000.
It was discovered by a Canadian, known as John, while panning for gold near Wanlockhead in Lowther Hills.
But John was not impressed with his discovery and almost threw it back in the water.
He said, “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. I said ‘is this gold?’ and couldn’t understand his excitement.”
He added, “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.”
Leon Kirk, his mentor, said the last noteworthy find of Scottish gold was just a third of the size, found around the area in 2002 and weighed 6.1g or 0.2oz.
“I like to tell my students that everyone goes home with a flake or two of gold, but this is exceptional,” 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.”
Kirk calls it a major discovery in which “people will be talking about it in 30 years’ time.”
Gold nuggets of this particular size command a premium price in Scotland as they are extremely rare.
The gold panning course works out of the Wanlockhead’s Museum of Lead Mining.
Gerard Godfrey, the museum trustee said he is delighted by the significant find and that a mini gold rush would occur once the finding will officially be out.
He says that responsible panners who have the equipment and needed information and experienced or novice aficionados are welcome in the area. No doubt, very large pieces of gold in the hills are waiting to be discovered.