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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

Angus & The Mearns

Historic castle on the market for £1 million

October 19 2013

A historic 17th Century Mearns castle once visited by Robert Burns has gone on the market for around £1 million. Monboddo Castle near Fordoun, by Laurencekirk, which sits in more than three acres of ground, has been transformed into a family home. Also known as Monboddo House, the building was the birthplace and home of James Burnett, Lord Monboddo, the 18th Century judge, soldier and agricultural improver. Burnett is famously said to have anticipated the Darwinian theory of evolution. Among his friends was Dr Samuel Johnson who, accompanied by James Boswell, dined with him at Monboddo in August 1773 when passing through the Mearns on their documented journey to the Western Isles. Robert Burns is also known to have visited the castle and was a frequent visitor to Burnett’s Edinburgh home. More than 375 years on from its original construction, the renovated property now boasts a hallway, drawing room, sitting room, kitchen/breakfast room, utility room, cloakroom, five bedrooms, a bathroom, garage and stables/stores. The property schedule from agents Savills, based in Brechin, states: “Monboddo Castle is a very fine and fully restored castle dating from 1635. “It is an imposing yet easily manageable house, which retains many of its original features, including turrets, crow stepped gables, gun loops and shot holes. “The restoration in the late 1970s was done to an extremely high standard, retaining the character of the original house. “Since 2009 an ambitious programme of further improvements and renovations has been undertaken.” The estate of Monboddo belonged to the Barclays as far back as the 13th Century. By 1593 it is known to have come into the possession of James Strachan, from whom it passed to the Wisharts of Pitarrow and then the Carnegies. In 1634, Colonel Robert Irvine part of a Scots regiment which had served with Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden retired from military life and came to live at Monboddo. The main building was constructed in 1635 and was initially described as “a simple oblong residence, two storeys and an attic high.” Between 1866 and 1867 Monboddo was significantly extended and “improved” at a cost of £2,000 to a design by James Matthews of Aberdeen. Three generations of the Burnetts of Monboddo served in India and for many decades the house was scarcely lived in until 1939, when James Malcolm Burnett returned from Africa to farm at Monboddo. Sometime after the Second World War he returned to Africa and Monboddo gradually fell into complete disrepair. In 1977 the castle was restored with a 19th Century addition removed to leave the shell of the original building of 1635. For more information, call Savills on 01356 628600.

Angus & The Mearns

Darren Burnett ‘totally in a dream’ after winning world singles bowling title

January 27 2014

Arbroath ace Darren Burnett has achieved his lifetime’s ambition by winning the world indoor singles bowling championship. Burnett, who had hit top form to beat Greg Harlow and Stewart Anderson, then accounted for world No 3 Rob Paxton in the semi-finals before taking on world No 4 Mervyn King at his own game and came out on top, 5-7, 10-8, 2-1. With King holding shot with an inch-perfect, dead-length toucher on the first end of the tie-break, Burnett hit his target and sent the jack into the open, and it took an age for the umpire to decide that it was the Scot’s shot. King levelled by winning the next end and the fate of the world title hung on a sudden death shoot-out. Burnett’s first bowl, which stopped three inches short of the jack, remained in position to seal a famous victory. Clearly in a daze after the final, Burnett said: “I’m totally in a dream. It’s an unbelievable feeling, because I’ve had my sights set on winning this title for several years. “But, to be honest, I didn’t honestly think it was ever going to happen.” He added: “I felt really nervous to be playing in my first world final I’ve won other ranking events, of course, but the world is different, and it took me a few ends to settle down.” Paying tribute to his travelling support, a group of bowls fans from Inverness, who were referred to by the BBC TV commentators as the Tartan Army, Burnett said: “They were absolutely fabulous, and made up for the fact that most of the spectators were, understandably, shouting for Mervyn.” Burnett was also delighted to have his wife Linsey and daughters Isla and Evie with him. He said: “They came down from Scotland for the final stages, and having them here made quite a difference.” “Mervyn was more consistent than me on the day,” Burnett said. “But I hung in there and played some pressure bowls when forced to do so, and I think that made the difference but, from a television point of view it was a dream final, which went down to the wire.”

Road tests

Audi Q2 puts quality over size

March 21 2018

Audi’s Q2 was one of the first premium compact SUVs on the market. It sits below the Q3, Q5 and the gigantic, seven seat Q7 in Audi’s ever growing range. Although it’s about the same size as the Nissan Juke or Volkswagen T-Roc, its price is comparable with the much larger Nissan X-Trail or Volkswagen Tiguan. Even a basic Q2 will set you back more than £21,000 and top whack is £38,000. Then there’s the options list which is extensive to say the least. My 2.0 automatic diesel Quattro S Line model had a base price of £30,745 but tipped the scales at just over £40,000 once a plethora of additions were totted up. Size isn’t everything, however. In recent years there’s been a trend of buyers wanting a car that’s of premium quality but compact enough to zip around town. It may be a step down in size but the Q2 doesn’t feel any less classy than the rest of Audi’s SUV range. The interior looks great and is user friendly in a way that more mainstream manufacturers have never been able to match. The simple rotary dial and shortcut buttons easily trounce touchscreen systems, making it a cinch to skim through the screen’s menus. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eQ5p5Z7-Ek&list=PLUEXizskBf1nbeiD_LqfXXsKooLOsItB0 There’s a surprising amount of internal space too. I took three large adults from Dundee to Stirling and no one complained about feeling cramped. As long as you don’t have a tall passenger behind a tall driver you can easily fit four adults. At 405 litres the boot’s big too – that’s 50 litres more than a Nissan Juke can muster. Buyers can pick from 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines or 1.6 and 2.0 litre TDIs. Most Q2s are front wheel drive but Audi’s Quattro system is standard on the 2.0 diesel, as is a seven-speed S Tronic gear box. On the road there’s a clear difference between this and SUVs by manufacturers like Nissan, Seat and Ford. Ride quality, while firm, is tremendously smooth. Refinement is excellent too, with road and tyre noise kept out of the cabin. It sits lower than the Q3 or Q5 and this improves handling, lending the Q2 an almost go-kart feel. On a trip out to Auchterhouse, with plenty of snow still on the ground, I was appreciative of the four-wheel drive as well. The Q2 is expensive – though there are some good finance deals out there – but you get what you pay for. Few cars this small feel as good as the Q2 does. Price: £30,745 0-62mph: 8.1 seconds Top speed: 131mph Economy: 58.9mpg CO2 emissions: 125g/km

Shows & Sales

‘Selective but’ solid trade for Limousins at Stirling

February 3 2016

Some of the country’s best and most expensive Limousin bulls were heading to the Highlands and Islands last night after their breed sale at Stirling. Of the 111 bulls catalogued, 25 failed to turn up and 56 found new homes to average £5,601. Last February 62 Limousin bulls averaged £4,625. British Limousin Breed Society chief executive Iain Kerr said the bulk of bulls were sold to commercial beef farmers rather than pedigree breeders, and described the trade as “selective but solid”. “If they had conformation, length and growth potential they were easily sold,” he added. The exception to the commercial trade was the supreme and junior champion Harestone Jim. This 18-month-old bull from the Aberdeenshire breeder Neil Barclay, Insch, was bought by Limousin breeder Michael Cursiter, Laga Farms, Evie, Orkney, for 10,000gn. The sire is an AI son of Fieldson Alfy who has bred bulls to 120,000gn in the past. Stirling pedigree breeder Andrew Burnett, of Upper Spittalton, Blair Drummond, was paid 9,000gn for his fourth prize-winner, Spittalton Jimbob, a July 2014 sire. He was bound for a ferry to the island of Islay and the herd of W&M Wood, Octofad Farm, Port Charlotte. The Scottish Government’s bull stud at Inverness bought two of Mr Burnett’s other sires. They paid 5,000gn for the April 2014 born Spittalton Judge, and 5,400gn for Spittalton Juror. Meanwhile, another of Mr Burnett’s sires, Spittalton Jupiter, sold for 5,000gn. Three bulls made 7,800gn. The intermediate champion, Goldies Jonjo from Bruce Goldie, Townfoot Farm, Mouswald, Dumfries, was bought at that price by G&M Porter, Carrabus, Bridgend, Islay. Mr Goldie’s reserve junior champion, Goldies Black Jonah, was bought by R Simpson & Son, Mains of Creuchies, Alyth. Senior champion Homebyres Jardine, from John Logan, Homebyres, Kelso, was bought by Hugh Mackay, Tomloan, Ardclach, Nairn. Mary Fotheringham and Hazel McNee, Overfinlarig Farm, Tealing, Dundee, sold Westhall Black Justthejob for 6,500gns. He was bought by George Wardie, Cairnborrow, Glass, Huntly.

Angus & The Mearns

First Minister enjoys rub of the green during bowls announcement

August 19 2014

Bowling bobby Darren Burnett put First Minister Alex Salmond through his paces in Arbroath. The Commonwealth Games gold medallist praised Mr Salmond’s efforts after giving him a lesson at the Abbey Bowling Club on Monday. Mr Salmond visited the Arbroath bowling club during the last stop of the Scottish Cabinet’s tour ahead of the referendum on September 18. He was given a white bowling jacket and shoes on arrival and took part in a match against Mr Burnett, who is also a local policeman, and sports minister Shona Robison. Mr Burnett’s advice paid off as Mr Salmond’s first bowl was perfectly weighted and ended up rolling up just short of the jack. “He was very good,” said Mr Burnett afterwards. “His first bowl was very close to the jack I’m taking the credit for the coaching I gave him!” Afterwards Mr Burnett was presented with a Commonwealth Games legacy plaque, which he accepted on behalf of Arbroath Community Sports Hub. Mr Salmond also announced that £420,000 will be invested over a four-year period to support Bowls Scotland in recruiting development officers and a coaching manager. Mr Burnett who also won the World Indoor Singles Championship in January said the £420,000 investment from sportscotland was great news for the sport. He said: “Bowls has been in decline and this is just what we need to steer it back in the right direction. “We want to get the community involved in the game and dispel the myth that it’s an old people’s game. “Abbey Bowling Club has a junior section of about 30 members and that’s what you want all clubs to strive towards.” Mr Burnett added that there was no reason why Arbroath couldn’t produce another world champion in the coming years. Mr Salmond said the performance of the Scottish lawn bowls team at the Commonwealth Games was “an inspiration”. “In light of the golden glow around Scottish lawn bowls, there is no better time to encourage new people into the sport,” he added. “Like any sport, bowls needs new recruits to try, enjoy and compete, so I am delighted that following the magnificent achievements of the Team Scotland bowlers, this additional investment will help Bowls Scotland give the next generation a taste of this fantastic sport.” Bowls Scotland CEO Alan McMillan said: “We are committed to growing our sport in the local communities that bowls serves throughout Scotland and look forward to discussing new concepts and ideas on how we can achieve this with the Scottish Government and sportscotland.”

Other sports

Darren Burnett’s brother to make international debut

June 4 2015

Angus bowler Ryan Burnett and Perth’s Chris McGreadie will make their full international debuts at the Eddlewood club in Hamilton this month, when Scotland hope to retain the British men’s team title. World U25 champ Burnett, a member of Carnoustie West End, has received the backing of elder brother Darren. “I know that Ryan was hoping to make the team, and I’m delighted for him,” said Darren. “He’s got an exciting time ahead of him. He leaves for Australia in the summer, after being invited to play professionally for the Broadbeach club on Queensland’s Gold Coast.” With Alex ‘Tattie’ Marshall already strutting his stuff in Australia, and Burnett Sr and Paul Foster making themselves unavailable for the series, it gave the selectors the chance to build on the success of last year’s team. “Those of us who were involved in the Commonwealth Games in Kelvingrove were excused duty last year, and the team selected did so well it would have been a bit much if Tattie, Paul and I marched back into the team,” said Burnett. Markinch’s Wayne Hogg, who missed out on a place in Scotland’s Commonwealth Games squad, will play third to Derek Oliver, from Cockenzie & Port Seton, while Burnett will lead for team captain Colin Walker, from Pathhead. McGreadie will lead for Blackwood Victoria’s Iain McLean.

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.

Perth & Kinross

He’s cracked it – Highland Chocolatier Iain Burnett creates egg-stra special treat for distillery

April 13 2017

Grandtully businessman Iain Burnett has revealed that he was asked to make a giant Easter egg out of a rare chocolate for a distillery near Glasgow. Glengoyne Distillery has used the creation by the Highland chocolatier to showcase its 21-year-old malt. Instead of infusing the chocolate, which is from the tiny African island of São Tomé, with the whisky, Iain chose to make a lattice-like design to encase a full bottle. He said: “Three of us have taken two days to make a giant, 5kg, half-metre tall Easter egg. It’s lattice work with butterflies, all made out of chocolate. “I was asked by Glengoyne Distillery some time ago to do a match with this 71% São Tomé chocolate and their 21-year-old malt. “It was a combined idea – instead of making a whisky truffle it was making a chocolate egg that contained a full glass bottle of whisky. "The lattice-work egg is an example of what can be done with craftsmanship in chocolate and is adorned with chocolate butterflies and mirrors the deep colours and flavours of the sherry matured whisky. "My small dedicated team of chocolatiers are trained in-house to meticulously hand-craft chocolates so this giant egg was a great challenge and took the work of three of my most skilled chocolatiers. ” The award-winning chocolatier also revealed the processes behind the making of the egg in a video. Iain Weir, marketing director at Glengoyne, said: “We are delighted to be able to reveal the ultimate whisky-lovers Easter egg, crafted by our friend and Glengoyne Kindred Spirit, Iain Burnett. Such skill and precision has gone in to this creation and like Glengoyne, Iain and his team use outstanding flavours and textures to delight the palate. “Our 21 year old is matured in the finest sherry oak casks and boasts notes of Christmas cake, honey, and rich fruit, the perfect accompaniment to the dark world-class São Tomé chocolate that The Highland Chocolatier has become famous for. "The egg will now take pride of place in the Glengoyne shop in the heart of Dumgoyne after being created in Iain Burnett’s Grandtully chocolate kitchen."

Dundee

Volunteers galore at Sandy Park scheme

March 14 2011

So many volunteers came to help with the latest stage of the refurbishment of the Sandy Park in Balgillo on Saturday that some enthusiasts had to be turned away as there were no more trees left to plant. Amanda Burnett, whose daughter Kristie (12) has been the guiding light of the park's transformation, said she was "surprised and delighted" at the turnout. "It went tremendously well," she said. "It was freezing and snowing and we were worried because of the horrible weather that no one would turn up. "We had over 350 trees to plant and the turn out was slow to start with but by the end we had to turn people away because we ran out of trees. The trees will screen the play area and make it as safe as possible." The event was a real community effort, attracting all ages, she went on. "The kids were fantastic. They seemed to really enjoy taking part and getting their hands dirty, but it was great to see all ages there. "Grannies were digging, two-year-olds planting and two people came to plant a tree in memory of someone. It was a really lovely community event." Another 100 trees will be planted at the park by Forthill Primary pupils, who raised £150 for the project. Kristie started her Friends of Sandy Park campaign three years ago. It has since received funding from the National Lottery and M&S.

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