It’s a tale of unlikely endeavour worthy of its very own Viking saga.
For, tucked away underneath an unassuming church in Cross Gates, a fully-fledged longship is getting ready to set sail on its first and only journey.
The 24ft ship, decked out with shields and complete with a fearsome dragon’s head on the prow, has been put together by local Scoutmaster Barry Jackson in the basement of Cross Gates Methodist Church.
Barry, 69, has spent around six weeks constructing the impressive boat before painting it and getting it ready to show off to legions of local Scouts at a special event next month.
And, in true Viking style, the climax of the celebrations will see the assembled troops set the boat on fire after a big showpiece parade.
Barry told the YEP he has been putting the ships together for around eight years now, with this latest creation being his forth.
He said: “Our District Commissioner did a lot of Scouting up in the Shetlands and they go in for this up there.
“He brought the idea back down here with him and that’s where it started really.
“In my 20s I was part of a youth hostel group and we had one or two people in there who were joiners.
“One of them taught me how to make canoes and I’ve applied what I learned from him to making these boats.
“This is the biggest one I’ve done and it was quite a lot of work. The hardest part is the dragon’s head and working out how to make it look like the real thing.”
Made primarily from simple sheets of plywood, the ship will now be taken apart and transported to Hunters Grieve in Bramley for the big event over the first weekend in March.
Around 200 local Cubs, Scouts and Beavers will gather for the celebration.
They will take part in fun events including making their own swords and dressing up as Vikings before the ship is finally set alight on the evening of Saturday, March 2.
Barry said: “It’s hard to say what the younger ones make of it really. The older ones definitely appreciate it though. As for me, I do enjoy putting the boats together – but I enjoy it more when it’s finished!”