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We Pride ourselves in the work we do in our  community we support local Schools and community groups large and small  and have developed a safe  and quiet area in our shed for members with special needs.  We support  Dementia Scotland and The Scottish war blind association and work closely with Aberdeenshire council social workers on a number of projects

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Erebus project

                                               To the end of the earth.

The Turriff and District Men’s Shed has responded to a call from a local family and their 2 young boys (Ollie 11 and Harry 9). To support their latest project (Erebus)

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The Project entailed building two scaled down replica wooden ships 1 metre  long (HMS Erebus and HMS Terror) from the original 1839 admiralty drawings  along with fitting tracking and data collecting sensors for a sail of over 20,000 km 13,000 miles within the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and encompassing 4 of the world’s oceans.

This will replicate the Ross scientific expedition of 1839-1843.  This is the first time anyone has ever attempted to circumnavigate the earth using model ships.

The Antarctic Circumpolar Current is the earths strongest current and displaces 180 million cubic metres of water per second more than 100 times  of all  the world’s rivers combined.

It travels constantly in an Easterly direction and separates the Antarctic seas from the 3 warmer oceans the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific oceans allowing the Antarctic to remain cold which is essential for the world’s climate.


Shed members Gerry Quinn (ex RN oceanographer) and Bill Little retired offshore worker have offered to build the replicas for the boys to finish off and fit out.


 Bill built a prototype to establish the buoyancy and stability characteristics in his home workshop when the Men’s shed was  closed due to lockdown.


 We have been lucky enough to be offered the most amazing wood to use for the Erebus Project. This beautiful block of Elm is almost 200 years old and will become our modelled Ships Erebus and Terror.

It is hard to find elm these days. Loved by traditional boat builders, it is a rare and sought after resource. By the end of the 1970s in the UK, over 90% had been lost to Dutch Elm Disease.

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This stunning two tonne elm block comes from a tree that grew on the banks of the river Deveron at Muiresk a few miles from our Turriff shed. It was kindly donated to the venture by Peter Kenyon of Muiresk. A careful count of her rings shows her to be at least 192 years old. As the Ross expedition left Chatham Kent for her adventure around the Antarctica in 1838 this young tree was no more than ten years old. The same age as Harry is now.

Just like the lower hull of Erebus and Terror, our ships will be built using this wood. Elm is a highly durable wood when permanently wet and when great strength is required such as boat keels

The specialist milling required to cut our elm took us three hours and was undertaken by local expert Dave Piercy of

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The team from left to right Peter Kenyon ,MacNeill the boys father with Olli and Harry ,and Bill Little Mens shed member

Bill Measures for the cut

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The blanks cut to size

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The boys were delighted to get involved and help find the best of the block to use for our two ships

The final dressing of the wood prior to carving was done by John Watt of Macduff boat builders many thanks to all of these local businesses for their support.

With our solid hulls built from the heart wood of this 192-year-old elm, we hope to avoid being crushed in the pack ice and will survive this Antarctica expedition once again.

Bill Little with the Elm prototype in his home workshop and the sea trials at Macduff

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Technical Challenges.

The project has presented some interesting challenges the original intention was to power the satellite tracker by sails made from shaped solar panels. As the Antarctic winter lasts for 6 months of total darkness March to September with no sun for solar power. We will fit a trackers used for tagging marine life - whales, sharks etc. these are waterproof and their battery lasts for 4 years.

The batteries are mounted inside the hull to keep them from freezing, Antarctica water temperatures of zero to minus 2 degc where the air temperature can be as low as minus 25deg to minus 60 degc.

The vessels will be fitted with instruments to measure wave height and temperature and salinity and a camera to record their journey. Data is transmitted via satellite daily and a picture monthly.

Another problem is the sea spray freezing to ice and snow or hail build-up on the topsides and capsizing the vessel, This was resolved when we found a paint used for tall radio masts and bridges/MOD satellite dishes which makes water bead up like water on a newly polished car and when if freezes it drops off under its own weight so no ice can form.

A further potential problem was bio fouling this is when mussel larvae attach to the ship and feed on the zooplankton which live near the sea surface and weigh the ship down we are getting a specialist copper coating to prevent this the keel will be copper plated 

Stability and buoyancy


The boys and their father MacNeill and Gerry tested this prototype in the North Sea for stability and buoyancy and to determine the correct ballast requirements.

 The ships will be fitted with a ballast system constructed with a modified keel to act as a drogue to utilise the current in driving the ships forward. To design this modified keel we can thank Hugh Watson for his time and expertise and a local subsea engineering firm Subsea tools UK of Oldmeldrum for donating materials and fabricating the specially designed Keel. They also organised the shipping and covered the costs  to the Antarctic.

Bon Voyage


The ships were sent in August 2022  from Aberdeenshire to Bristol and on to the Falkland Islands and then on to South Georgia where they will be launched into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current 100 miles North of South Georgia.

The Falkland islanders are very supportive of our project and keenly follow the progress via the boys Facebook page- the days are packed- which has 33,000 followers worldwide. When the ships are in the Falkland’s they will be placed into the harbour at Port Stanley to recreate the link with the original ships that were berthed there for 6 months waiting for the pack ice to break up.

The boys hold a Guinness book of records certificate for the longest journey of a toy boat after launching it from Peterhead in Aberdeen shire it was found and reported in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, East Africa and the Caribbean it is at present in the Atlantic making its final journey back home to Europe on the trade winds Young Scottish brothers take on a list of 500 adventures - CBS News

Funding for the project has been secured from sponsors identified by the Aberdeen voluntary action  (AVA) And crowd funding, 

Any surplus funds will be donated to Canada’s Underwater Archaeology study and conservation of HMS Erebus and HMS Terror.

These two ships were part of the ill-fated Franklin expedition in 1845 who were sent to find the North West passage from the Atlantic to the Pacific through the Arctic seas above Canada.

Both ships were trapped in the ice for 2 years and the crews had to abandon the ships as they were crushed by the ice.

The crews attempted to walk across the ice hauling their lifeboats filled with materials and provisions on sledges to Canada.

 Subsequent rescue attempts found evidence of cannibalism at their campsites.

The boys are making a model kit of HMS Terror to show on their blog site and share their enthusiasm with their school friends and followers.

 This is a truly inspirational adventure for two ambitious young boys. And the Turriff and District Men’s Shed  are happy to provide help along with local companies/ and individuals  support and to inspire youngsters within our community and across Scotland. Seeking to push forward their ambitions. Let’s beat the lockdown and create adventure for all.


Bill Little. & Gerry Quinn.    

Below the shed is awarded a computerised magnifying screen from the Scottish War Blinded association for the benefit of our members with impaired vision. It has a magnification from 3 x to 70x with lots of features to enhance focus and allow members to continue with their projects and hobbies. Presenting the equipment were from left to right support worker Sharon Mcallister ,Legion Scotland volunteer Steve Geddes, Max McAulifffe Army Veteran, Ingrid Penny Scottish war blinded outreach worker and Bill Little Men's shed member 


We helped shed member Leon (see below )to build a lorry 1 : 7th scale to be taken around schools in Scotland and demonstrate why lorries have to cut corners at junctions and roundabouts to facilitate getting their trailers around. 

And highlighted the blind spots for the driver to be avoided by pedestrians and cyclists hopefully this will save lives and injuries to children. 


The shed erected a fence to keep the children safe from the road at Cumminston Play Group

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Placement pupil gets hands on experience

A placement pupil gets hands on experience painting a project

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Shed member meets placement people to discuss their requirements


The shed has installed a banner at the Turriff recycling centre with the kind permission of the council recycling officer, requesting anyone who is throwing away materials and tools to bring them to the shed where we can recycle them and reduce land fill. We are having  a good response from everyone ,so please bring your donated materials to our shed. Many thanks for your support  Shed Member Stan Cheyne is seen here with the banner.

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Two shed members erect a fence around Auchterless primary school wild flower garden

Shed member gets tuition from AbilityNet tutor on web site management.

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A Shed member building a mud kitchen for Turriff Primary School

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Shedders Bill Little and Kenny Skinner Pouring the coffee on our coffee morning

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Manning the stall at our coffee morning on November 11th 2019 are Ali Ogg,Bob Herkes,Kenny Skinner, Alois MiesterMartin Hodgeson and Rennick Stephen

Our community support extends to other activities you can enjoy engaging in.

A summary of these are listed below.



1. Turriff primary school providing them with small picnic tables and bird table for outside play area


2.  Macduff Nursery. Building a shed and storage area and equipment for outdoor play area. 

3.  Turriff Academy.

We provide support to pupils by providing various kits to be assembled in school and give  tuition to the pupils so the pupils get a hands on experience and one of our kits is making sets of domino,s which are passed on to the primary school to aid the children with learning numeracy skills. other kits include bird and bat boxes and insect houses which the primary school pupils can put up in the local woods to teach them about their  natural environment. 

   Sports Facilities

We have built Shoe and trainer storage facilities to improve hygiene at the local swimming pool.


   Turriff gardening club 

We have provided bespoke planters and signs for use in public areas such as the entrance to Turriff Library, local church entrances, And the war memorial garden situated at the entrance to the cemetery.

   Giving support to local groups.

We have created a safe none machinery area in our shed for the support of members with personal needs from:-

Dementia Scotland.

Scottish War Blinded

Educational hands on work experience.

   Meeting people in the community

1.       We organise Coffee mornings at Turriff British legion to raise shed funds.

2.       We have a stall at the Turriff Mayday festivities recruiting members and sales.

3.       Turriff Vintage car and Tractor rally we have a stall recruiting members and sales.

4.       Turriff Christmas lights we have a stall recruiting members and sales.

5       Fyvie make do and mend event we have a stall with emphasis on recycling and repurposing goods to reduce land fill and scrapping materials

As you can see joining our shed opens up opportunities for you to get involved in  creating  a better community reducing waste and landfill  and meeting new friends, join our shed now  =  to do your part hope to see you soon its free and fun.

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