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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 February 2007, 14:25 GMT
Book marks Lennon's Highland home
John Lennon, Yoko Ono and their children Julian and Kyoko in Durness in 1969
John Lennon returned to Durness with Yoko Ono, Julian and Kyoko
John Lennon's oldest surviving relative has made an emotional return to the summer childhood home he shared with the Beatle in the Highlands.

Stan Parkes, 72, helped launch a book, The Next Big Thing, based on his cousin's links with Durness.

The event took place outside John Lennon's old Sutherland croft house, where he spent summers with Mr Parkes.

The house, which has a spectacular coastal backdrop, has a blue plaque marking Lennon's time in Durness.

The book has been written by former MSP Mike Russell.

Stanley Parkes
John never forgot those times at Durness
Stan Parkes
John Lennon's cousin

John Lennon spent many of his childhood holidays in the Highland village from the ages of 9 to 14.

It provided part of the inspiration for the Beatles' song In my Life and the Beatle also visited Durness with Yoko Ono and their children, Julian and Kyoko.

Lennon's links with Durness have been highlighted in a tourism initiative headed by HRH The Prince Charles.

The website has received a staggering 155,000-hits-a-day from all over the world since its launch last month.

Mr Parkes, who now lives in Largs, told the site: "John never forgot those times at Durness.

"They were among his happiest memories. He loved the wilderness."

"We used to go fishing in the lochs and swimming in the sea.

"John wrote a lot of poems. I'm sure some of his songs were influenced by Durness."

Mr Parkes said he felt "very sentimental" whenever he returned to the croft.

He said: "John always wanted to buy a Scottish estate. In fact, when the Durness estate came up for sale many years ago I told him about it but he was too slow and he missed the boat.

"That was John, very lackadaisical."

The Next Big Thing is being published by Balnakeil Press, which is based in Loch Croispol Bookshop in Durness.

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