It was a crash that saw the legendary Beatle spend five days in a cottage hospital and delayed his return to start recording the band’s final album.

Now a signed John Lennon drawing from his accident during a visit to Sutherland in 1969 has been sold at auction for £800. Autographed “To Derek Peace + Love John Lennon 1969”, the framed picture is a sketch of Lennon and Yoko Ono in the late Beatle’s characteristic caricature style.

Derek was the uncle of vendor Frank Massie, who inherited the work from his late father, also called Frank, to whom it was passed when Derek died.

Lennon crashed his car while holidaying in Sutherland with Yoko Ono, her daughter Kyoko and his son Julian. He was known to be a bad driver and had rarely been behind the wheel since passing his test in 1965. The singer was terrible at navigating roads and often failed to notice other traffic.

The roads around Golspie were narrow, the weather was poor, and on July 1, 1969, Lennon panicked after spotting a foreign tourist driving towards him. The Beatles founding member lost control of his Austin Maxi, driving it into a roadside ditch. He, Ono and Kyoko sustained cuts to the face and Ono’s back was injured.

They were taken to Golspie’s Lawson Memorial Hospital where Lennon was given 17 facial stitches, Ono 14 in her forehead, and Kyoko four. Julian Lennon was treated for shock but was otherwise unhurt. He was taken to stay with Lennon’s Aunt Mater in Durness, around 50 miles away, before his mother Cynthia took him back to London the following day. When she arrived at the hospital to demand an explanation from Lennon he refused to see her.

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Mr Massie added: “My Uncle Derek was given this autograph and sketch personally by John Lennon when he visited Durness in the far north of Scotland with Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon and Yoko’s daughter Kyoko in 1969.

“John used to go there nearly every summer when he was a child, together with visiting his relatives from Edinburgh, and he said it was one of his favourite places in the world. My uncle lived and worked in Durness and met John while he was there.”

The crash happened near Loch Eriboll on what is now part of the NC500, cutting short their visit and landing the Beatles star in hospital in Golspie for five days. “My father Frank inherited the picture when my uncle died and it was then passed to me when my dad died,” added Mr Massie. “It was originally in an old frame but I have had it re-framed. I’m nearing the end of my life so I’ve decided to sell it and get the best possible price on behalf of my children.”

HeraldScotland: The signed Lennon sketch – drawn in his famous caricature style – from his accident has been sold at auction for £800.The signed Lennon sketch – drawn in his famous caricature style – from his accident has been sold at auction for £800.

The crashed Austin Maxi was later transported to the couple’s Tittenhurst Park estate where it was sited in the gardens. Although Lennon was never intending to attend, July 1 was the first official day of recording for what became Abbey Road.

The crash delayed his return to London, and after being discharged from hospital he spent three days at home before finally rejoining The Beatles on July 9. It was the last time he ever drove. Lennon took childhood summer holidays in Durness and the song In My Life from 1965 Beatles album Rubber Soul is said to be based on a poem about the village penned while holidaying in the area as a teenager.

The village of Durness – mainland Britain’s most north westerly – has a memorial garden to Lennon featuring stones engraved with In My Life lyrics, although the house where he stayed as a boy has now been demolished and replaced with a modern property.

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The drawing went under the hammer in Richard Winterton Auctioneers’ Antiques and Home Sale from The Lichfield Auction Centre at Fradley Park on Monday. Ephemera specialist Robert French said: “John Lennon was one of the most iconic figures of the 20th century.

"Lennon’s love of Scotland started in his childhood and he wanted to share these formative memories with Yoko when they first became a couple.

“This drawing links these great loves of Lennon’s life and demonstrates his affection to his personal friends and acquaintances.”