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Highland sheep

Known Scottish Gold Locations

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Wanlockhead

Wanlockhead is the highest village in Scotland at 467m above sea level. It was formed in the 1680's, with the Straitsteps Lead Mine opening in 1710.  Commercial lead mining was in operation from 1793 up until around 1850.  This area has very unique geology,  with a huge range of metals and minerals being found and discovered here.  With the presence of lead mining, came hopeful gold prospectors.  Gold can still be found to this day in various streams, including the Mennock Water with record-breaking nuggets weighing up to 18g and carrying a value of £10,000!  The gold from this location is very popular due to its high purity of around 20 carats.  The village of Wanlockhead is now home to the Museum of Lead Mining, where you can purchase gold panning licences.

Gold Panning Lessons, hosted by Leon Kirk
Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland

Kildonan & Suisgill

Where it all started - Suisgill Estate became the hub of 'the great Sutherland Gold Rush' in 1869.   You can still apply to pan for gold in Kildonan Burn, where Baile an Or is located, from the estate owners. There are strict rules and time limits, though the invitation is open to anyone.  However, panning is strictly forbidden for most panners at Suisgill Burn, being open only to guests staying at the rental cottages on the estate, or to anyone over the age of 70 (be warned, proof of age is required!).

Scottish Gold Rush
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Tyndrum & Highland

Our version of the 'wild west' - this area has multiple burns and rivers which have been found to produce gold.  It is also home to Scotland's only commercially operated gold mine.  So why might there be more gold prospects here, than anywhere else in Scotland?  Millions of years ago, a planar fracture occurred which resulted in a major displacement of rocks.   Where faults like this occur, there is a much higher chance of mineral deposits.   The map on the right below was drawn up by George Barrow in 1912, which demonstrates the change in topography - the difference between the Highlands and Lowlands, and is known as the Highland Boundary Fault Line. 

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Barrow Highland Boundary Fault

Ochil Hills

One of the locations where gold is rarely found, but with some beautiful nuggets being discovered here over the years.  The Ochil Hills are rolling green hills which dominate the backdrop for the villages of Bridge of Earn, Dunning and Auchterarder.  There are many gold bearing rivers in this area - so many that a commercial operation did test drills in the 1980's to look into the potential of gold extraction on a large scale.   Interestingly, the gold deposits here have limitations in use as jewellery due to the high concentration of other metals within the gold, making it brittle to work with.  This results in the gold having to be heated to above 1000° to burn off the impurities before being worked into jewellery.

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