October 20 - November 1968
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In June 1966, Paul McCartney bought a farm near Campbelltown, in the Kintyre peninsula in Scotland. In May, he spent some time there with his girlfriend Jane Asher. This stay was covered by the New Musical Express, in a June 1968 article.
It would be a place where he would spend much time with his wife, Linda, in the late 60s and 70s. Linda would first visit High Park Farm in November 1968.
This is the most peaceful spot I’ve ever come across in the world — that’s how Paul McCartney described his High Park Farm, tucked away in a lonely corner of the Kintyre hills in Scotland.
Quite recently he was living there again, where he and his girl friend Jane Asher find peace and stillness after the bustle of London. Here Paul can find the quiet he wants to write songs and collect his thoughts. As Jane says: “We can get away from it all here.”
Locally, however, it wag the biggest wave of excitement to sweep Kintyre, Argyllshire, for many a long day. A BEATLE WAS GOING TO LIVE THERE! The news spread like wildfire.
In streets, shops, cafes, offices and pubs there was just one topic of conversation — Paul McCartney had bought High Park, four-and-a-half miles north-west of Campbeltown, a Scottish holiday resort.
Nestling in the remoteness of the Kintyre hills, the farm is a small steading with traditional grey dry-stane stone buildings, pens and paddocks, with sheds and barns surrounding the traditional farmhouse, the centre-piece of the 55 acres of hill pasture. Grazing contently on the slopes of this land are Paul’s 90 sheep and several beef cattle.
When he bought High Park in June 1966, Paul paid only a flying visit, but later trips have resulted in longer stays.
Would-be autograph hunters found they were up against it when they tried to get to Paul at the inaccessible farm. Ian McDougall, a neighbouring farmer, bars the way of any unauthorised persons trying to see the Beatle, for you must go over his land to get to Paul’s. Intruders are usually exhausted when they reach Mr. McDougall’s place, for the road leading to it is one of the worst in the British Isles.
Paul and Jane were lucky during one of their stays — for nine days — as the sun shone incessantly. During this time, Paul, helped by Jane and NEMS general manager, Alistair Taylor, climbed the hills near the farm, which turn from lush green pasture to rough, heather-covered ground as you climb. He also went out in a boat to do some fishing on a nearby reservoir. And he got quite interested in the various farm duties, helped by his giant, shaggy English sheepdog, Martha, who had a wonderful time on the farm. Paul got a kick out-of driving an old tractor, too.
With a friend, I was the only “outsider” to see Paul at his farm. I found him in an American football shirt with a “22” on his chest, muddy jeans and stout brogue shoes. He spoke of the weather, about Beatles discs and that he might make some changes on the farm. But he seemed very happy with it as it was.
Inside the farm house, Jane did all the cooking on a Rayburn solid fuel cooker and told me she enjoyed cooking for two hungry men. She even baked some bread.
Compared to London standards, the farmhouse was very rural and primitive. Furniture was sparse and littered round the place. Paul had made a couch from potato boxes and sacks, which was quite comfortable. But the house inside is a bit dingy and Paul felt he might make bigger windows. He might extend the building, too, as there is only a small sitting-room, a living room-kitchen, a bedroom and wc.
Paul appealed in our local Campbeltown paper to the people not to mob him if he came to town. “I want the day to come when I can stroll through your town and shop, have a pint at the local, and so on” he told me.
Paul and Jane returned to the farm in December, a brave decision as the weather can be cruel and the roads impassable. Paul drove in his Aston Martin. He kept warmly clad in a tattered flying jacket, with “padded” jeans and wellington boots. Like local farmers he drove in to Cambeltown in his landrover. He was mobbed despite his appeal, but he took it well and signed many autographs. Humour was added by one old soul remarking: “He’s nae cream cookie, is he?” which meant to look at he was nothing special.
This is exactly what Paul was hoping for. He wants to be treated just like any other farmer coming to town for his stores and not to be pinned against walls by screaming teenagers.
But next day Paul and Jane were back to Campbeltown, but this time they were left alone. I saw him chatting with one teenager as if he had known her for years.
The-night before he left, Paul accepted an invitation from a local club to be guest of honour at a dinner-dance. Sure enough he and Jane arrived — Paul still in his flying jacket, boots and jeans! He made quite a few friends.
Paul likes coming to his farm now, because the more he does the more he is. accepted as a farmer, not a Beatle.
As a person I found Paul intelligent and courteous (he opened a gate for me at his farm) and refreshing to meet.
Paul told me he hopes to bring John, George and Ringo and their families for a vacation at High Park, but he’ll have to extend his farmhouse, or get some tents up for them (after India, it won’t be so different, anyway). But they will see a new Paul in Scotland, Paul the farmer.
He was so proud that at a recent sale of lambs and sheep, some of Paul’s animals bought a good price of £5 each. Whether this was because they were Paul’s or not, nobody can say, but Paul would like to think they were bought because they were better sheep. than others.
Who knows — some day Paul McCartney MBE may turn full-time farmer (turning out a few songs on the side), scraping a living from High Park, where he can find a million pounds worth of peace!From New Musical Express – June 1, 1968
Last updated on September 26, 2021
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