Dan Beard/Lookout Tower

This tower is much easier to build than it is to describe! It is extremely stable and is a cross between the Dan Beard and the lookout towers.



  • 5 x 5m (16ft) spars
  • 8 x 2m (6ft) spars
  • 6 x 1.2m (4ft) light spars
  • 4 x 2m (6ft) light spars
  • 56 lashings
  • 2 x 8m ropes and pegs for rope ladder
  • 4 pickets and 4 x 10m ropes for guys


  • 3 x 5m (16ft) spars
  • 3 x 2.5m (8ft) spars
  • 10 lashing lengths
  • 1 single wheel pulley
  • 1 x 20m rope to suit pulley
  • Large tent pegs


Using 6 x 5m spars, prepare 3 pairs of identical sheer legs. The sheer lashings should be approx. 3m from the butts.

Lay one pair of sheer legs on the ground with the butts approx. 2.2m apart.

Stand the second pair of sheer legs vertically against one side of the first pair.

Lash the adjacent ends of the first and second pairs of legs together – as near to the ends as possible.

Take a 2m spar and lash it between the lower spar of the second (vertical) pair of sheer legs and the spar on the far side of the first (horizontal) pair, approx. 1.5m from the butts. (diagram A)

Take the third pair of sheer legs and stand them vertically on the other side of the horizontal legs. Lash the ends of the legs together.

Lash another 2m spar from the upper leg of the third (vertical) pair to the horizontal (5m) leg, next to the 2m spar which is already in place. These 2 x 2m spars form two sides of a square.

Complete the fourth side of the tower using a further 2 x 5m spars and lash them together where they cross. (diagram B)

Lash 2 x 2m spars to alternate legs of the tower, 1.5m from the butts to complete the square bracing for the legs.

While the tower is still horizontal, lash 4 x 2m spars approx. 1m down from the top of the 5m spars to form the basis of the platform. These must be lashed to the uprights that were NOT braced at the bottom. (diagram C)

We recommend that at this point the tower is raised to ensure that the platform is reasonably level. This is done by building a tripod using the 5m and 2.5m spars. The pulley is suspended from the apex and the rope threaded through the pulley and attached to the top of the tower.

Once the platform has been checked the tower should be lowered and the light spars lashed in place. Ensure that they rest on the platform frame (not suspended underneath it).

Lash the remaining spars to the top of the tower to form a handrail.

Prepare a rope ladder of suitable length to reach from the platform to the ground and tie it in place.

Raise the tower.

This is an extremely stable structure but for your own peace of mind you will probably wish to guy it.

To download the complete plan and design document please Click Here

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 additional handrails or belays and harnesses may be required, depending on the height of the platform.

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