In its early days the British Goldpanning Association (BGA) was known as the Kildonan Club. The Kildonan Burn in Scotland was the site of the gold rush in 1869. To be a member of this club you needed to have panned an on ounce of British gold. Therefore, to join you needed to have shown a lot of skill, be dedicated to the tradition and demonstrated you were prepared to invest time and effort to earn your rightful place.
The BGA was the brainchild of a Swede called Staffon Feron during the late 1980’s. Staffon was passionate about gold prospecting and had the idea to gather all those interested in panning for gold together in one place. The first gathering was in Wales in 1988. This was the first British Goldpanning Championships, although some other panners had attended the World Championships which started during the 1970’s.
The BGA competition spirit continued and the event eventually settled on the Mennock Burn near to the village of Wanlockhead. Our national competition is now held annually in the village of Wanlockhead during the last weekend of May. BGA members travel the world representing the UK at the World Goldpanning Championships.
It was in the late 1980’s when Staffon had the idea that Britain should submit a bid to host the 1992 World Championships. The bid was successful and after much debate, the villages of Leadhills and Wanlockhead were chosen as the host location.
Much time has passed since 1992 and it has been the dream of the BGA to host another Worldclass event. This time the pretty town of Moffat has been chosen, which nestles in the Southern Uplands. It is fitting that the 2017 World Championships will return to the UK in the 25th anniversary year since the UK last hosted the World Championships.