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Make ours a double! Aviemore pub owner flies Highland Tartan Army to Euro 2024 in Germany

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Make mine a double! Don Lawson has chartered a plane to Germany for a Highland Tartan Army flight and is having to double the booze order for thirsty fans. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Make mine a double! Don Lawson has chartered a plane to Germany for a Highland Tartan Army flight and is having to double the booze order for thirsty fans. Picture: Callum Mackay.

An Aviemore publican is doubling the beer order after chartering a plane to fly thirsty Highland Tartan Army foot soldiers to Germany for the Euro 2024 finals.

Well-known businessman Don Lawson teamed up with local firm SJ Travel to offer private jet, hotel and ticket deals for Scotland football fans living locally.

Such has been the popularity of the venture, only a small handful of the 180 seats remain empty, with all match tickets now snapped up.

Mr Lawson, formerly of Aviemore, now lives in Inverness but still owns the Skiing-Doo and the Doo Below in the village.

National coach Stevie Clarke’s team head for the finals in buoyant mood after beating Spain and Erling Haaland’s Norway en-route to their second consecutive Euro finals.

But with prices soaring on all exit routes from the UK to Germany, Mr Lawson was keen to ensure local Tartan Army foot soldiers could have their heads up in the clouds as well.

A veteran of a great many Scotland football travel adventures over the years, the Johnny Foxes owner knows there will be high demand for in-flight refreshments as the chartered Polish plane departs Inverness airport for Munich on June 13.

Don Lawson behind the bar at Johnny Foxes in Inverness. Picture: Callum Mackay.Don Lawson behind the bar at Johnny Foxes in Inverness. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Don Lawson behind the bar at Johnny Foxes in Inverness. Picture: Callum Mackay.

Packages for a one-way flight to the Bavarian capital start at £399, return flights at £795, with full match ticket, flight and hotel deals costing up to £4,300.

“Unfortunately, aviation rules mean our Tartan Army guests will not be able to bring their own carry-outs on board,” Mr Lawson explained.

“We expect there to be a bit of a party mood among our Highland Tartan Army travellers so we have put in a request that the airline stocks up on double its usual amount of beer for the trip.”

For those who have booked a return flight, it will leave on June 24 from Stuttgart Airport.

Scotland will open the finals against the hosts before a worldwide TV audience on June 14.

They also face Switzerland and Hungary as they vie to become the first Scottish national side to make it through the group stages of a major finals.

Germany will welcome the Scots fans with open arms given their reputation for good behaviour among all the high spirits.

Don Lawson is a Tartan Army veteran who can't wait to be part of the party in Germany. Picture: Callum Mackay.Don Lawson is a Tartan Army veteran who can't wait to be part of the party in Germany. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Don Lawson is a Tartan Army veteran who can’t wait to be part of the party in Germany. Picture: Callum Mackay.

Mr Lawson said: “We have been offering unique package deals to Highland football fans eager to be part of the action.

“After making it to the group stages of Euro 2020 after a 22-year absence from major finals, we were reluctant to believe that this opportunity would come around again so soon.

“As it is, flights from Scotland to Germany are few and far between.

“We wanted to lay on a rare – perhaps once in a generation – opportunity for a great experience for Scotland football fans across the Highlands and beyond.

“The Tartan Army is renowned the world over for its bonhomie and camaraderie with either nations, so much so that at Euro 92 in Sweden we were given the UEFA fair play award for the tournament, an honour usually afforded to one of the teams.

“The saying is ‘no Scotland, no party’ and we will put smiles on faces in Germany whether or not it ends in more glorious failure

“The tournament organisers are delighted we are heading to Germany as they believe the Scottish supporters will light up their festival of football.

“And we’re delighted too – Munich is the perfect venue for us Scots.

“We love beer and in Germany, with the purity law and no chemicals in what they produce, they make the best beer in the world!

“We guess it is going to be 12 days and nights of healthy drinking for Scotland supporters.”

Donna McKellar of ATOL-registered SJ Travel, based at Fairways in Inverness, said: “There has been incredible demand for flights to Germany since Scotland qualified in October 2023, and even more pressure on hotels and accommodation providers in the host cities long before that.

“We do have a limited number of spaces still available across our package options, we expect these to be sold out very shortly.”

To find out more or to book your place on one of Spirit Journeys’ Scotland Euro 2024 packages, visit the Spirit Journeys website.

The only dilemma for the Don Lawson travelling party heading for Germany will be whether to reschedule if – or should that be when? – Scotland navigate the knock-out stages and reach the final on July 14.


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