Are You an Anorak if you Metal Detect?

18th July 2014 — 38 Comments

One of the most popular posts of the last three years was the one dealing with how others view metal detectorists and a light-hearted questionnaire for hobbyists to see whether they really deserved the appellation of ‘geek’. I saw my words copied and posted on detecting forums all over the world. A sure sign of popularity … pity the copy and paster posters hadn’t bothered to acknowledge the source!


In British slang an anorak is a person who has a very strong interest, perhaps obsessive, in niche subjects. This interest may be unacknowledged or not understood by the general public. The term is often used synonymously with geek or nerd.

I had never thought of myself as an anorak, but this encounter had me thinking. Mrs John and I had quickly popped into the local Tesco supermarket to buy grub before setting out on a detecting session…as you do. We bumped into a couple of poshly dressed acquaintances who engaged us in brief conversation. Feeling rather daft in dirty boots and old trousers, I tried to explain away our scruffy mode of dress.


Anorak‘Ah, metal detecting’, he said, looking down his nose, grimacing, and pointing to the bottom of the store, sarcastically saying that there were ‘plenty of cheap ones down there’. Now, I can be sometimes slow on the uptake and, at the time, didn’t fully understand his meaning but afterwards, Mrs John patiently explained that he was indicating the clothing section, with specific reference to the anoraks!  So, can you identify with any of the following? Tick five and you are definitely on the way to being very interested and perhaps obsessive in the (niche) hobby of metal detecting. No cheating.


  • Your swinging arm is longer than your other

  • You take the battery out of the smoke alarm because the one in your pin-pointer died

  • When beach detecting, you don’t even notice the pretty women (or guys)

  • When driving, you spend more time than you should looking at fields

  • You are on a first name terms with the farmers in the local pub

  • You are continually looking down when walking in the street

  • The house is littered with boxes containing scrap

  • You wear out the toes (or the instep) of your boots before the heels or soles

  • All your trousers, including your Sunday best, have grass stains on the knees

  • The detecting gear owned by you and your partner won’t fit into the boot of the car

  • When not in the field you spend all your time on internet detecting forums

  • You know far more about history than you ever learned at school

  • Turn up at organised digs far too soon

  • Dream about metal detecting

  • You own one of those gilets with numerous pockets and can never find anything you want

  • You have lost a Garrett Pro-Pointer in the field

  • The other guy’s machine is always better

  • You spend a lot of the time scheming to get out the house

  • Do you have little pots of coins soaking in olive oil on window ledges?

  • Beach detectorists – are your pockets always full of sand?


Well, how did you do? Remember – if you have ticked more than 5 then you are definitely an ANORAK!

Richard Evans confirmed his anorak status on the 15 April 2012 when he made the comment: Oh dear, think I have earned a roll-neck sweater to go with the anorak after reading that! One other thing I do is wander around shops looking at the floor and often picking bits of silver foil up in case they are hammered coins. When taking the dog for a walk I often pick a green rabbit dropping up thinking it might be a Roman bronze …
Steve Simpson said: The question you and I need to ask ourselves is are we still friends with those people who see us as rather strange. Of course we are – my work mates have pigeon holed me as a train spotter, which I found very offensive at fist, but now I laugh with them. Therefore I must be an anorak!
Gooner: Oh dear. Best not let the Mrs read this one. She thinks I’m not wired up right as it is; now she has proof that I’m an anorak!


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38 responses to Are You an Anorak if you Metal Detect?

  1. I’m definitely an anorak, and will be wearing one tomorrow at the CS dig.
    Hopefully, see you soon.

  2. I can own up to at least seven of those John… And I spend far too much time looking at specialist web sites that deal with ‘clothing for when out in the field’…! Currently looking at ranges of non-camouflage wear for next season’s detecting catwalk… :-))

    Mrs B will definitely testify to the “When driving, you spend more time than you should looking at fields” – owing to my wandering into the middle of the road, resulting in some ‘interesting’ conversations in the car… :-))

  3. I guess so looking at John`s list of runners.

    Whatever it takes to be a happy person and shut out the outside world for a few hours suits me fine.

    Happy Hunting.Jerry.

  4. All I can say is der ya go!

  5. Guilty as charged ! If anything I’ve got worse John

  6. Well I wear a gilet so I must be one. The only reason I wear one is because I cannot get a finds pouch to fit.

  7. Believe me John I’ve been called a lot worse

  8. 11 for me in my heyday. Just sitting on the sidelines like you these days though John.

  9. HAHAHA, I learned something, and guess that I am!

  10. Well I don’t stand on street corners slurping cans of alcohol and smoking wacky baccy. Does that make me an anorak? Seriously, I will own up to being in my latter years slightly different. Well read, knowledgeable and having a love of history too.I must be an anorak!!!

  11. i got more than 5 so i must be ,i think the general term Anorak belongs to trainspotters ,well there were Trainspoters before detectorist ,

  12. Well, it’s been a long time since I last wore an anorak, but I can definitely say yes to most of those and if I possessed a Garrett Pro-Pointer I probably wouldn’t bet against me losing it in the field. If that makes me an anorak, all well and good, it is what makes me happy and I wouldn’t change for anything. 🙂

  13. “poshly dressed acquaintances ” i know the type john, those that smell o horse shit!

  14. Anorak ism is rife within the metal detecting fraternity ,, it rates very closely with train spotting ,but not quite as bad as Eddie Stobbart spotting .
    There were times when I would not admit that I was a metal detectorist ,and if my wife mentioned it in company I would blush, and become ,embarrassed ,it’s like going shopping in Aldis for the first time ,you just did not like to tell your friends …
    But after I found a medieval silver guilt ring which went up to the British Museum, I have have come out!! and now openly admit to being a rampant Anorak metal detectorist and proud,I believe there is no stigma anymore,

  15. Regarding detecting attire I’ve never understood the popularity of camouflage gear.Why do so many detectorists regard this as necessary ?

    • Purely because it has a proven track record for hard wearing in the field and it can be purchased cheaply.

    • Wearing camouflage clothing makes you blend in with your soroundings kind of sympathetic to the countryside ,most of those that take part in country pursuits wear predomantly green , shooting fishing ,ect, .
      I think wearing camo gives the hobby credibility ,when I detect the beach I dress aproprietly , I wear shorts and sunglasses , some times just speedos , that’s when the credibility bit fails .
      Not done the nudist beach yet ,can’t work out where to put my probe,,,

      • An interesting (and humorous) reply Peter, but I used to wear bright clothing in the field so friends could locate me if there was an emergency. Is it an ‘age’ thing?

  16. Looks like 13 of the boxes get ticked for me. Doesn’t worry me at all.

  17. While it is very popular in the US to be a geek right now, unfortunately, our society does not classify detectorists as geeks, but freaks.
    Great article John.

  18. You missed out “looking at your change in shops for an errant hammered Lizzie!”

  19. all of the above aforementioned…lol .

  20. brian (OSD on NRH) 27th April 2018 at 7:46 AM

    I got 5 john I don’t care whot other people think about being a detectorist,its one of my hobbies I like doing, it if you research a item found you get a insight into its history, and there will be a time when the down the noser brigade will want something finding in there garden a ring or something, then its a case of whot goes around comes around mate, as for anorak, that should be updated to camorak, regards bri

  21. Youve just confirm im a member of the anorak club ..both my daughters have reminded over the yrs im one lol

  22. YEP, I am definitely an Annie rack. She was the one on the beach I didn’t see,
    until I nearly tripped over her.
    Brilliant article John, thank you once again.

  23. Can I ask if it’s reeeeaaaly geeky/nerdy/anoraky if you can tick substantially more than 5 of the statements, I’m just curious, I need the information for a friend.

  24. Um….here years ago I coined the phrase…Hi my name is Leslie and I’m a digaholic.

  25. Yes John, I’m definitely an anorak and what makes it even worse I also own one that my daughters bought me for my 65th birthday. Mind you they did spend £168 on it from the Ridgeline selection.

    So that definitely confirms it, I ticked six from your list and I don’t really care if the rest of the general public think that I’m an anorak, they can go off touring the local shopping malls five steps behind their beloved spouses, meanwhile I’m in the fields with my favourite metal detector and my best buddy, so who is worse off?



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