Merry Go Round


  • 1 x 5m (15ft) spar
  • 4 x 2.5m (8ft) spars
  • 4 x 1m (3ft) spars
  • 20 lashing lengths
  • 2 x 7m ropes
  • 1 x 4m light rope
  • 1 metal end cap
  • 2 x 1m (3ft) lengths of steel pipe (20mm gas barrel)


Ground anchorage: obviously, you cannot guy your main upright spar as the guys would obstruct the action of the merry go round. Therefore, it is necessary to provide a very firm fixing in the ground. Select a spar with no shakes (splits) and the like. Drill a hole through the spar about 0.5m from the butt and a second one about 0.2m above this at right angles to it. The holes should be just big enough for a length of gas barrel, or similar, to pass through them. (see a.)

Dig a hole in the ground 0.9m deep. The diameter of the hole needs to be as close as possible to the size of the vertical spar. (We used a post hole borer but a metal bar and small spade should do the trick)

Pass one length of steel pipe through the lower hole and stand the spar vertically in its hole. With the pipe resting on the surface of the ground, mark around it on the turf and withdraw the spar. Dig out the slot until with the first pipe in its slot, the vertical spar rests on the bottom of the hole. Lift the spar until the second pipe will slide through the upper hole. This will allow you to mark the second slot in the right location.

With the spar and its two pipes in position, check that it is vertical and then pack the soil very tightly into the hole and the slots.

Prepare the top of the merry-go-round by laying two of the 2.5m spars parallel to each other, just far enough apart that they will fit over the top of your main upright. Use 1m spars, one at either end, to lash them in place. Make sure both the short spars are on the same side of the frame.

Repeat with the other two 2.5m spars.

Place the two frames, one on top of the other at right angles to each other. They should cross in the middle of the spars and the hole must be just big enough for the top of the main upright spar to fit through. Lash the two frames together where they cross, ensuring that the short spars holding the frames together are all on top of the 2.5m spars. (Diagram b).

Take the two 7m ropes and pass one through the lay of the other (untwist one rope so that the other can be threaded between the strands) at the centre point.

The two 7m ropes must be fixed to the end cap at the point where they cross (ie the centre of them both). This is done with the 4m light rope and a west country whipping. (c )

Tie a loop about 1m long on each end of the 7m ropes, using a bowline. It is vital that these ropes are the same length. The loops are hooked over the ends of the short spars.

Grease the end of your main spar – we protected the spar with a half pint enamel mug (minus handle) and greased that – then lift your frame over the end of the vertical spar and place your end cap on the top of the spar. It should fit snugly but not too tightly as it must be free to rotate.

The 4 planks are used as seats. They should have a hole drilled at each corner and a rope is then threaded through these holes and up over the short spars and tied firmly. Make sure the seats hang evenly.

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