Thursday, 20 September 2012

Camping out on Clodhoppers inaugural dig 15/912.

 The inaugural Clodhoppers open dig 2012.

After making the decision to Haul my ass off for a weekend dig with clodhoppers, I realised I had many things to do. For a start off I was going to overnight in a tent.....but I don't have a tent!
Anyway mi Julie gave her blessing for me to go, with the expected send off of "don't come back moaning about not getting any sleep".
I picked up a cheap 2 man tent from Argos £14.99 on the Friday, as we were due to camp on the Saturday (I always like to leave plenty of time to cover for problems). Mi Julie then informed me that there was no chance of the air bed fitting in the tent; well I could do without it because I’m hard!
Early morning Saturday and the girls tent is up. © Warren Parry 2012

Friday night and I have the car loaded to the rafters. I put the breakfast meat in the freezer in the hope that it would stay fresh until Sunday morning. All I had to do now was get the meat out in the morning, take my batteries off charge, load all my stuff into the car and I would be away.

7am on Saturday and I have remembered everything, so off I go ......wait a minute! Why won't the doors open on the car? Nor the boot for that matter!! Oh crap, why me? I run back into the house creeping around like a baby Hippo with slippers on and wake everyone up.  I need the spare key fob as I think the battery may have gone in the one which don't work. To my relief the spare key works. The sat nav says 58 minutes to destination, via the M5
Sid collecting the cash and doing the admin stuff. © Warren Parry 2012   

The directions given by Sid took me directly to the gate in the field where we were to park. Sid had already pitched up his tent on the Friday and spent a lonely night in the field. I think I was first there, although others were there at about the same time. I paid up and pitched my tent. I gave some of the ladies (who were camping) a hand to put up their tent, although they were more than capable of doing it on their own. People began rolling in on a regular basis as the 9am start time rapidly approached. A brief talk from one of the group on hole filling and the fields which were in play and we were off.
people arriving and chatting. © Warren Parry 2012
Ayit giving a speech before the off. © Warren Parry 2012

Gold Quarter Nobel in the hands of the finder Dave H . This was found on a previous dig. © Warren Parry 2012
It was quickly established that the fields were heavily iron infested. They were also giving up plenty of finds, which is what everyone wants to see. My first find was a George iii penny which was still readable, and that's not that common for George iii coins. Others were having the same sort of success, especially along the canal side. News broke at about lunchtime that one of the detectorists (Brett) had been seen doing the hammy dance, it was indeed true. This was his first hammy, an Elizabeth half groat I think. My day continued with a few more old coppers and a sixpence. I also had a pound coin and a musket ball in the afternoon. It was fairly hot and sunny so I took to resting up at about 4pm and catching a few rays.
 A copper in the hole. © Warren Parry 2012

At about 6pm I noticed that my breakfast sausage and bacon had become exposed to the sun. I therefore had to use them for my evening meal and pop to the supermarket to get some more breakfast stuff. Being the useless shopper that I am, I came back with cooking bacon! Oh well, that's why Mi Julie don't take me shopping with her.

When I returned to the field, there were only a couple of detectorists left out on the dig. Most of the campers were milling around the admin area. We came to a team decision that a fire pit should be dug. Greyhound (one of our lady members) had brought an admirable amount of fire wood; however she thought we might be a little short. We both headed into the darkness to find some more firewood. There was a dead pear tree lying in one of the fields which we headed towards. There were plenty of heavy dead and well seasoned pieces lying around which we took back to camp. The fire was going like a good-un by now, and looking like it should be the place to be for the rest of the night. Most of the team had brought food and cooked it up, burgers, sausages of many types and plenty of buns. I cooked off my breakfast lot and had a real belly full. 
The beginnings of a truly magnificent fire. © Warren Parry 2012 

By now everyone was well fed and the Alcohol was freely flowing. The stories around the camp fire from all parties went down well and the atmosphere was very good. Aurelia (lady member) read a ghost story which captured the imagination as her story telling was spectacular. At one point Andy almost caught fire as he was listening so intently, and got too close to the flames.

Once the stories subsided and the alcohol had taken affect, the mood became one of hilarity. Most of the group headed out to the pear tree to collect more wood for the fire. They came back with some huge chunks of tree trunk which lasted to the next morning.
Everyone hit the sack at about midnight.

After what can only be described as a fairly restless but warm night in my sleeping bag, I realised that I should have brought a ground sheet or air bed. My back was wrecking, and the chorus of snoring caused me to emerge from my tent like a dazed moth from its pupa. I do admit that most of the snoring would have come from me as I had consumed the best part of two bottles of wine and a good slug of vodka.

The whole camp emerged between 6 and 7am, as the first of the Sunday detectorists were going to be rolling in from about 8am. Breakfast of cooking bacon in baps was like ambrosia to me, as any food usually is after a night on the pop. My head was pounding and I felt like shite!
The morning after the night before. © Warren Parry 2012

By 9am there were about 10 detectorists on site, a few more followed later. We ventured over to the fields on the other side of the farm. The first field I went into had recently been ploughed and sewn with grass. It looked promising and i soon had a ship ha'penny out. The problem however was that the ground was very very hard. I gave up after about 1 hour of back breaking digging. I still felt like a bag of shite so I headed back towards the camping area. I had also forgotten to bring my pro pointer with me due to the foggy state of my brain. Once I had collected my pro pointer I decided to have another bash along the canal side, where I again found a few coppers. I had to depart at 12 bells so at 11.30 I headed back to my car. I had packed my tent up earlier so I said my goodbyes to a great bunch of people, who I now consider being friends and headed off home.
some of my finds. © Warren Parry 2012.

It was a great weekend which I would recommend to anyone who gets the opportunity.

Thanks to all involved.


  1. what a great story mate, glad to be a part of it, look forward to meeting up again soon

  2. And a great time was had by all!

  3. Well done Woz.

    Great story, really caught the feeling of the weekend