The Wayfarer Bridge


  • 16 x 3m (10ft) spars
  • 2 x 4m (13ft) spars (for ladder – may need to be longer!)
  • 10 x 1m (3ft) spars for ladder rungs (more if your ladder is longer)
  • 2 x single pulleys
  • 2 x 30m lines to fit the pulleys – dependent on the width of the stream
  • 4 x long ropes for positioning frame
  • 48 lashing lengths
  • 6 pickets
  • Maul


Build your frame close to the bank of the stream or ravine which you plan to cross.

Prepare two identical A frames using 3m (10ft) spars. The sheer lashing should be about 0.6m (2ft) from the top – see diagram (i).

Stand the A frames vertically on their sides AB.

Join points B on each frame with a 3m (10ft) spar.

Join points A on each frame with 2 x 3m (10ft) spars. The spars should be lashed above the sheer lashing, one either side of the frame see diagram (ii). Take great care with these lashings as they must be very tight.

Stand the frame up so BC is parallel to the ground and join points C with a 3m (10ft) spar.

Cross brace to hold the frame rigid.

Lay the frame on one of the rectangular sides again, (as in diagram (II)), and drag it to the edge of the stream. Sides BC should be facing the stream. Tie ropes to the frame near to points B on either side and two ropes at points A and throw them across the stream to members of the team on the other bank. The frame is then dragged into place in the stream and brought upright (point A at the top) by pulling on the ropes.

A rest for the base of the ladder is built on either side of the stream using two pickets and a 3m (10ft) spar for each.

It is important to check the distance between the rest for the ladder and the centre of the frame before you start to make your ladder make sure your ladder is long enough!

Build your ladder.

Sink two strong pickets in about 1m (3ft) behind the centre of your ladder-rest on either side of the stream. Firmly fix a pulley to each of these pickets.

Tie a line to one end of the ladder. The other end of the line is passed through the pulley then thrown across the stream to a Scout on the other side. The second line is tied to the other end of the ladder, thrown over the stream, passed through the pulley then thrown back again.

How does the bridge work?

The ladder is propped on the ladder-rest and the top of the frame on one side of the stream.

The lines are pulled tight through the pulleys to keep it in place.

A Scout carefully climbs the ladder and when s/he reaches the top s/he gets off the ladder and balances on the frame.

The Scouts with the ropes then pull the ladder up over the top of the frame (some help from the Scout on the frame will no doubt be needed). When the ladder is held securely in place on the other side, the Scout can climb down onto the opposite bank.

Note: Since the design of the project the principles of Health and Safety have changed dramatically.
Caution should be exercised to assess the risks associated with this build and especially regarding possible falls from height, so handrails or belays and harnesses may be required.

To download the complete plan and design document please Click Here

Put your phone down and what are you left with? Just teamwork, courage and the skills to succeed.’
Bear Grylls, Chief Scout Bear Grylls