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Life Behind the Machine...
First light on any Sunday morning, whether it be 4 a.m. in the summer or 7.30 a.m. in the winter, will usually see only two breeds of hobbyists abroad to keep the birds company in their dawn chorus...the angler...and the detector user.
Both labelled 'Insane'! by bed loving mattress magnets, the similarity does not end there. High levels of skill and patience, together with an incurable optimism are absolute necessities for success in both pastimes. The angler pursues an essentially solitary interest, despite being a member of a club, as does the detector user. The joyous anticipation of the 'bite' compares unerringly with the hopeful expectation of the 'find'. The frequent trudge home after yet another blank day is a common experience shared by both hobbies. Comparisons are endless, and it is not unusual to find both activities embraced by the same individuals.
The term Treasure Hunting applied to the detecting hobby by the press in particular, and the public in general, is something of a misnomer. Or, at least, it is open to a wide range of interpretations. With over 200,000 detector users active in the hobby, the chances of an individual finding treasure of the traditional romantic variety are about as good as his chances of winning the National Lottery or Irish Sweep.
'Treasure' can be defined in a variety of ways:-
A Royal Engineers cap badge or a Pioneer Corps brass button to the militaria specialist. An 18th Century lead button, bronze buckle or horse brass to one interested in that period or that group of objects. A Nice Roman, Mediaeval, Georgian or Victorian coin which has been recovered in a collectable condition.
Let there be no doubt in the minds of those contemplating taking up the hobby that the dedicated detector user is prepared to spend many hours of labour and many pounds of his limited pocket money, in search of treasures with little or no monetary value. For those who take uyp 'Metal Detecting' with their eyes wide open, fully realising that they have taken up a pastime that will cost them money rather than make it, there are of course ways in which they may improve their chances of success. Careful research of potential sites; the acquired ability to recognise, identify, classify and display finds which at first sight might appear to be worthless junk; the purchase of a detector which suits their precise needs.
All of these secondary activities broaden and enrich the detector users hobby, and eventually account for a good 50% of the time he spends in an absorbing and interesting pastime.