A Q&A with Colin (Toddy) Irvine

On the River Forth

Colin, a.k.a Toddy, Irvine is a proud Scot as well a long time detectorist, diver, promoter and teacher. He’s also a busy guy and I appreciate his taking the time to answer the following questions.  Thanks Toddy!!


Q. Toddy, if you don’t mind tell us a little about yourself, i.e., where do you live, are you married, where you keep you keep your valuables, etc..

A. I have lived in Falkirk Scotland for 25 years with my wife Pauline and 3 children, who have all flown the nest now.

Toddy & wife Pauline


Q. Does anyone else in the family detect?

A. No but they have all tried through the years. My wife helped me at the big rally trade stands for many years and also the kids.


Q. When exactly did you start detecting and what was your very first metal detector?

A. I started in the late 80’s with a no name brand from a local electrical store which my mum bought my dad for his birthday. I soon upgraded to a Fisher 1210


Q. What was it that made you purchase or use that particular brand/model?

A. I got given a Treasure hunting magazine and all I could afford at the time was that model.

With the Garrett ATX – 2014


Q. In the beginning Toddy where did you concentrate your time? What areas did you search?

A. I searched farmers fields around Glasgow where I lived. I never liked beaches at that particular time.


Q. What was your very first signal/find? Do you by chance remember?

A. I do, it was a large rusty bit of iron.


Q. Okay what was your first good or decent find, as in keeper.

A. This I can not remember but it would more than likely have been a copper penny or halfpenny


Q. Another brain test Toddy….how long did it take you to find your first silver coin and what was it?

A. I started finding silver coins from the Victorian times within weeks as around large cities the fields are called “Dumped on” fields. In Victorian times they would take the sewage and waste to the farmers fields and dump it on them. This is great for us as we can dig 30-50 coins in a day on these sites, all dating from 1800s

A couple of my better finds

Extremely rare Charles II Scottish Royalist medal circa 1600s

Roman Trajan silver Denarius AD 98


Q. How long did it take you to find your first ring and what type of ring was it?

A. I can not remember but my first gold posy ring took me 20 years.


Q. Did you spend a lot of time researching in the beginning and if so how did you go about it?

A. Back then we just chapped farmers doors as on most fields you are guaranteed coins from 1800s, but when we started to want older finds we had go use the libraries. We had no Internet.

Detecting the Scottish Borders


Q. What would you consider to be your very best find after all this time, and if it’s hard to choose just one feel free to tell us about the others?

A. I would say my gold medieval ring brooch from the 1300s. It is housed in the National museum of Scotland.

Medieval ring brooch from the 1300’s


Q. Okay Toddy what is your weirdest find to date?

A. A roman hand made lead face. It blew me away when I took it out of the ground on a dark cold winter’s morning.


Q. Love to ask Brits this – What is your “OLDEST” find to date?

A. I picked up 2 Neolithic stone axes from a ploughed field 10 years apart, but literally lying on the surface – dated pre 3500 BC.

Neolithic stone axehead approx 4000bc


Q. Toddy you’re heavy into water hunting now. How did that come about?

A. I got into Scuba Detecting after I learned to dive. I did loads of wading and this seemed the natural progression. We have some fantastic areas to search in Scotland. 


The Loch Long, western coast of Scotland


Q. What machines do you use for this type of hunting?

A. I use the Excalibur II and Nokta pulsedive!



Q. Okay what detector(s) are you using now for your dirt digging and why?

A. As a Garrett dealer I am using the Apex at the moment but intend to start with an XP Orx very soon.


Q. Can you offer a few tips or settings?

A. With the Apex I have noticed that 10kh is ideal for Hot ground that GBs 80 or 90+ and I think that is why beginners are having problems with chatter. Use 10kh, it’s really stable.


Q. Toddy when you do go detecting what accessories do you carry?

A. I use a Nokta Pulsedive probe as I use it for diving too. Also a Nokta digger and evolution spade and sand scoop when at the beach.

Nokta Pulsedive detector/pinpointer


Q. Do you prefer to hunt alone or with a group?

A. Sometimes running weekly digs of up to 100 people I do like to get out alone or with a mate and enjoy my hobby.


Q. Getting permissions here is becoming more difficult by the day. How do you go about it?

A. I just ask the farmer and be honest with him, don’t promise (that you will make awesome finds) him the earth either.


Q. You surely have a bucket list. Care to share it?

A. Coin – A Robert I penny, a few have been found at my digs over the years but it’s one that has eluded me. Artifact- A gold Iconographic ring.


Q. Toddy what other countries have you hunted?

A. Spain and USA (Virginia beach)

Detecting Virginia Beach


Q. Do you belong to a club?

A. Yes my own club – www.metaldetectingscotland.co.uk


Q. What would your IDEAL detector look like?

A. I have an idea for a detector that could revolutionize the hobby. If any are interested please get in touch.


Q. Finally Toddy if you could pass along one or two words of advice to other detectorists, what would they be?

A. Be grateful for every find you make as some countries don’t allow metal detecting.



Filed under Metal Detecting, Treasure Hunting

3 responses to “A Q&A with Colin (Toddy) Irvine

  1. Now, that’s treasure hunting!

  2. Stewart mulhern

    Interesting 👍

  3. john taylor

    that’s what i call “dedication” good on him!


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