Scottish farmer creates unique path in field of sunflowers

A young farmer has created a novel sunflower trail in the shape of Scotland.  

Based just outside Perth, 25-year-old Crawford Niven first planted a sunflower trail last summer, and its popularity spurred him on in creating something bigger and better this year.  

Already well known for his dedicated farming YouTube channel (@crawfordsfarm), Mr Niven wanted to diversify the farm by adding an attraction, and he has documented many parts of the process online.

See also: Find all our farm diversification content in one place 

After sowing the seeds, the plants take about 10-12 weeks to come into flower, and a bit of luck with the weather has added to the trail’s success.

“Growing sunflowers in Scotland isn’t really the done thing, because they need sunshine – and there’s not usually too much of that kicking about,” said Mr Niven.

Despite the odds, the path has been immensely popular with local families, with weekly tickets selling out within 24 hours of being released.

Entry costs £5 for adults, but is free for children under 12, and so far the trail is attracting about 40 visitors an hour when open.

GPS mapping

Mapping out the Scotland-shaped path was no small feat. After suppling his tractor GPS systems, Mr Niven reached out to his contacts at RTKFnet to see if they could help with bringing his plans to life. 

“I phoned them up and told them my idea, and they said that they had a system to make it work.

“I had to make a certain type of file in the shape of Scotland, then geo-reference it in the field that it was going to be in.

Sunflower trail

© Scotdrone

“They uploaded the file on to their iPad, which I used to walk around the field to mark out the map within 2.5cm of accuracy”.

Seeds from the sunflowers won’t go to waste, as Mr Niven’s family intend to have the flowers harvested and pressed to make oil, which they will sell in their farm shop at Gloagburn Farm.

Plans for the next trail in 2023 are already in the pipeline, but Mr Niven is keeping them a secret for now.

“I don’t know how I’m going to top the map of Scotland! I’ve got a few ideas, but I’m not going to give them away just yet.”