June 1969 was a month of rest for The Beatles, who were taking a break from the Abbey Road sessions. Following a brief trip to Wales, John Lennon and Yoko Ono drove to Scotland for a short holiday on 29 June.
The couple left their white Rolls-Royce at home, and instead took a customised Mini Cooper. They were accompanied by Lennon’s six-year-old son Julian and Ono’s five-year-old daughter Kyoko Cox. Julian happened to be visiting Lennon and was brought along without his mother Cynthia being informed.
On the first leg of the journey, to visit his aunts Nanny and Harrie in Liverpool, Lennon realised the Mini was too small to carry the four of them and their luggage. He instructed his chauffeur Les Anthony to bring them a more practical British Leyland Austin Maxi. Anthony then took the Mini back to Weybridge.
They stayed in the small village of Durness, in Sutherland in the Highlands. Lennon had previously enjoyed childhood holidays in the area between the ages of nine and 14, staying at the remote family croft at 56 Sangomore at Sango Bay which he had helped his Uncle Bert to renovate.
Lennon’s cousin Stanley Parkes later recalled:
John never forgot those times at Durness. They were among his happiest memories. He loved the wilderness. John was nine when he started coming up with my family to the croft in Durness. The croft belonged to my stepfather, Robert Sutherland, and John just loved the wildness and the openness of the place. We went fishing and hunting and John loved going up into the hills to draw or write poetry. John really loved hill walking, shooting and fishing. He used to catch salmon. He would have been quite a laird. In the last letter to me before he was killed he quoted a famous Scottish saying that says ‘It’s a braw, bricht moonlicht nicht since I last had a word’.
Also on this day...
- 2014: Ringo Starr live at Jacobs Pavilion At Nautica, Cleveland, Ohio
- 2014: Brian Epstein honoured with blue plaque in London
- 2010: John Lennon solo remasters to be released in October 2010
- 1965: Travel: Rome to Nice
- 1964: Live: Festival Hall, Brisbane, Australia
- 1962: Live: Tower Ballroom, New Brighton, Wallasey
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.