Poor haul fails to dampen spirits

editorial image

SOME of the Kinblethmont’s Estate’s buried secrets were brought to the surface over the weekend at a metal detectorist rally.

Enthusiasts gathered from around the world to trawl three sites on the estate in search of historical artefacts.

The rally was organised by Jim Crombie (69), a metal detectorist from Lochgelly in Fife, and according to him a good time was had by all, even if the finds were a bit thin on the ground.

Jim said: “Overall the finds were pretty poor, actually it wasn’t until the last day that the first hammered coins were found.

“Even though there weren’t that many finds of historical interest made we did find a few and this is a social event as much as anything.

“I had a good time, everybody had a good time. The estate owners went out of their way to help with the event. That didn’t stop them from enjoying themselves. They all hope I’ll be doing it again next year and I’ve had lots of emails thanking me.”

There were one or two interesting finds made over the weekend, including a mint condition 1928 Irish silver half crown coin.

Jim said: “The Irish silver coin must be as rare as anything, it must have been one of the first coins minted in the Republic of Ireland.”

A 17th Century miniature toy cannon was also found in good condition. Jim added: “The toy cannon is a beauty, it’s about five inches long, they are normally about an inch, and it’s the first one I’ve seen. It actually works, it takes gun powder and it fires a tiny lead ball, it must have been a dangerous toy even then.”

For Jim the most informative discovery came in the shape of small lead Russian flax sack seals dated between 1780 and 1815. He said: “There were absolutely loads of them. That was the most prolific type of find, nearly everyone found some. If we’ve learned anything from this weekend it’s that someone was importing massive amounts of flax to make into sail rope.

“The rope produced from the flax may have been used to tether a fishing boat to the quay in Arbroath harbour.”

Also found were silver hammered pennies from the reign of Henry II and/or Henry III, a decorated bronze ring, musket balls, a 17th century jew’s harp, pottery sherds and flint from the Neolithic era site at Kinblethmont Hill.

Many of the metal detectorists found accommodation at Kinblethmont House and there was also a buffet night organised. Jim said: “The accommodation was spectacular and the hospitality from the Ramsay family was second to none. The buffet evening was the best meal lots of those lads had ever had in their lives. It was out of this world.”

The rally opened with a lecture on medieval artefacts by Stuart Campbell, manager of the National Museum of Scotland’s Treasure Trove.

A raffle raised a total of £300 in aid of the Scottish Association of Mental Health (SAMH) which was presented to local SAMH manager Kevin Bruce.

Despite the poor haul Jim believed that further rallies could have better results. He said: “There are places on the estate that would produce really good artefacts and coins associated with the area and they would be useful to local museums.”