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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...


Fife cycle path project celebrates completion of missing link

August 29 2012

A new £70,000 path has made cycling between Newport and the Tay Road Bridge safer. Newport cafe owner and local citizen of the year Diane Miller officially opened the path and said it would make a difference to cyclists. Ms Miller, who runs the Manna Cafe, uses the route to cycle to work. ''I don't drive and the cycle path means I'll be able to cut out an element of Tay Street, which is great because there are so many parked cars,'' she said. ''I think traffic has been getting worse in recent years and it's marvellous that people are being given a safer place to cycle.'' Funding for the project came from a £14,000 Sustrans Community Links grant, £20,000 from Fife Council's locality budget and £36,000 from the Scottish Government's Cycling, Walking and Safer Streets scheme. The path joins with the national cycle route from St Andrews to Dundee and is part of Fife Coastal Path. Taybridgehead councillor Tim Brett said: ''Sometimes things can take a long time to happen and I was first approached about the need for a proper path here seven to eight years ago by local residents when I was the councillor for Newport. ''Thanks to the help and support of quite a number of people, it has now been possible to get this work done.''


£320,000 of improvements on the way for Fife coastal paths

March 15 2014

A major new investment is to transform sections of the Fife coastline. Nearly £320,000 is to be devoted to new projects promising the revitalisation of Kirkcaldy’s Pathhead Sands and circular walking routes in the north of Fife, plus enhanced safety measures and renewed lifesaving equipment on many Fife beaches. The fresh investment was announced by the Coastal Communities Fund, a UK-wide fund delivered by the Big Lottery Fund that aims to boost the economies of Britain’s coastal communities. Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT), which manages and maintains the Fife Coastal Path and Fife’s beaches, has secured funding of £275,000, with the remainder of the funding coming from the FCCT and Fife Council. The news was warmly welcomed by Fife councillors at Kirkcaldy’s Pathhead Sands, which is to be upgraded to the standard of other recreational beaches in the area. The Pathhead project will see the creation of a new car park, the removal of collapsed hardstanding, plus a new Coastal Path section linking the Sands with Ravenscraig Park. Restoration work will be carried out on the site’s beach, dunes and natural habitats, with invasive plants cleared and new interpretation boards giving visitors details of the area’s historical and natural features. Fife Council leader David Ross said: “I’m delighted that Fife Coast and Countryside Trust has been successful in attracting this new investment for the coast. “I’m particularly pleased that this funding will see the upgrading of Pathhead Sands and connections made to Ravenscraig Park. “This will improve Pathhead Sands, make this part of the coastal path more attractive to visitors and help to make much more of what should be a valuable asset to Kirkcaldy and to Fife.” Kirkcaldy East Councillor Arthur Morrison said: “The investment in Pathhead Sands will mean Kirkcaldy will at last have a beach for families, picnics and outdoor enjoyment. “The improvements have been sorely needed and will hopefully lead to the improvement of more coastal areas for future generations.” The two-year Pathhead project will also see the creation of a new community partnership including representatives from local community groups and businesses. Elsewhere, the Coastal Communities Fund money will create two new circular walks on Fife’s Tay coast, taking walkers through native woodlands and fields at Birkhill and Newburgh. Repairs to a collapsing seawall at Ardross, near Elie, will also help to safeguard the path and nearby property from coastal erosion. Meanwhile, new lifesaving equipment will be brought in at the 14 European-designated bathing beaches which stretch from St Andrews to Aberdour, and new electronic signage will give visitors to St Andrews’ East Sands the most up-to-date information on the quality of the bathing water at the popular beach. Fife Coast and Countryside Trust chief executive Amanda McFarlane said: “Fife already has so much to be proud of. This significant new funding will allow us to make the Fife coast even safer and more accessible, as well as helping to support the many businesses who make the Fife Coastal Path such a rich and rewarding experience for Fifers and visitors.”

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.

Take A Hike

A foray through north Fife

March 4 2017

Long distance trails are a great way to explore the landscape. Equally, they offer useful links between communities, links that can either be walked on their own or incorporated into other outings. Setting out from the southern end of the Tay Road Bridge on a loop through the north Fife countryside, and sustained by a lorne roll and coffee served up at the car park kiosk, I joined the Fife Coastal Path. Heading east from Newport, the well-signed trail runs parallel with the B946 to a picnic area beyond which it forks left, a leisurely descent following the line of an old railway to Tayport. Across the River Tay, established landmarks such as the Sidlaw Hills and Broughty Castle vied for my attention alongside more recent additions to the waterside scene – a trio of offshore oil platforms berthed in the port. Entering the burgh, I passed Tayport’s West Lighthouse, resplendent in white, and the shorter East Lighthouse. Designed by Robert Stevenson and built in 1823, they were a vital navigational aid for vessels entering the estuary. Another aid to mariners, although not on the Tay, was the lifeboat Duke of Kent, now propped up on one of the old stone piers at Tayport harbour. Stationed in Eastbourne, it finished its career as a survey boat after being decommissioned by the RNLI in 1993. The coastal path led me around the harbour, now a marina, and along residential Harbour Road to Tayport Common. Here I left the official trail and, by a band of pine, picked up a path over the parkland, passing a wildlife pond on the left en route to Tayport Football Club’s Canniepairt ground where the way swings right to join Shanwell Road. A little to the south, a track led me through Scotscraig Golf Course. The route crosses a couple of fairways, where signs warn of the direction to expect play from, before exiting the course at a gate. It continues south past Garpit and through a plantation of pines, entering Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve where my next stop was Morton Lochs, a trio of pools created at the start of the last century. Today they are a haven for wildlife and, in addition to hides overlooking the water, one focussing on the forest offers opportunities to spot red squirrels. Cutting between the north and south lochs, the reserve access track leads inland to the B945 from where I wandered west, a quiet country road running through arable farmland towards Forgan Manse, passing the ruins of 19th Century Forgan Church. Just ahead of the manse, I turned north, a right of way signed for Inverdovat rising through a paddock and up the edge of a field on to Roseberry Hill. Passing a carved boundary stone, the path skirts the eastern edge of Roseberry Wood, descending through a field below to cross a wee wooden bridge spanning a ditch in the base of the valley. Climbing by a wall to the road above, signs for East Newport led me by the pan-tiled stone sheds of Causewayhead Farm and down a tree-lined track to the A92. Carefully crossing the busy dual carriageway, I headed down Newport’s Station Brae, the second road on the right – Norwood – guiding me past houses and wooded Gowrie Hill to a cycle path offering passage back to the Tay Road Bridge. ROUTE 1. Descend path to B946, cross and follow Fife Coastal Path east to Tayport harbour. 2. Continue on coastal path (following Harbour Road) to Tayport Common. 3. Cross Promenade and bear right to pick up gravel path running south to Shanwell Road then turn left and walk 250m on pavement. 4. Bear right through gate, following track across golf course. Exit course at gate and follow path south to Morton Lochs. 5. Turn right and follow track west to B945. 6. Turn right on B945, then go left, following minor road west. 7. Turn right (signed Inverdovat) and follow waymarked path north. 8. Go left along road, then turn right, following lane up to Causewayhead. Bear left round stone sheds and continue on track, turning left at next junction. 9. Cross A92, descend 50m on Station Brae then go right along Norwood. Where Norwood meets Craighead Cresent, continue ahead on cycle path to Tay Road Bridge.   INFORMATION Distance: 13km/8 miles Ascent: 200m/660ft Time: 4 hours Grading: A moderate route setting out along the Fife Coastal Path and thereafter following good paths, tracks and minor roads with some useful waymarking. Keep dogs on lead where signs request and take great care crossing A92 towards end of walk Start/finish: Car park at south end of Tay Road Bridge (Grid ref: NO 426287) Map: Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 59; Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer sheet 371 Tourist Information: Dundee Information Centre, 16 City Square, Dundee DD1 3BG (Tel 01382 527527) Public transport: Stagecoach bus service 96 from Dundee stops at the south end of the bridge


Fife coastal path twinning could bring Swede tourism rewards

May 16 2016

The operators of the Fife Coastal Path are now building bridges internationally after twinning the popular attraction with a trail in Sweden. The Fife Coast and Countryside Trust (FCCT) hope that raising the profile of the hugely popular walkway will attract even more foreign visitors to the kingdom’s coastline. It is hoped that the link-up with the Skaneleden Trail will work in a similar way to twin town arrangements already in place throughout Fife. Valerie Telfer, business support manager at the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, said: “We are delighted to have developed such a good relationship with the team in Sweden and look forward to welcoming Swedish visitors to Fife. “From the vast array of nature surrounding the paths, the beautiful beaches and stunning landscapes, to the welcoming facilities along both paths, there is a great opportunity for path users in Sweden to perhaps explore another fabulous coastal experience in Fife and vice versa.” Though dwarfed in size by its Swedish counterpart, there are many similarities between the Fife Coastal Path and its “twin”, with both known to draw huge numbers of visitors. Stretching for 117 miles from the Forth Estuary in the south, to the Tay Estuary in the north, the Fife Coastal Path offers walkers the opportunity to explore the most visited outdoor region in the country. Meanwhile, the Skaneleden Trail, at more than 600 miles long promises trekkers some of the most picturesque views in Sweden. Located in Skane, in the south of the country, the huge path is home to camp sites and divided in to 89 separate sections. However, with 14 award-winning beaches to be seen in Fife, the FCCT has emphasised that there is plenty to attract visitors to Scottish shores as well. Mrs Telfer added: “The Fife Coastal Path is one of the most frequently visited sites we look after, and after seeing and hearing more about the Skaneleden Trail it is clear that, while there are many differences between the two, there are even more similarities.”


Fife Coastal Path could be shifted to escape erosion

March 17 2011

Parts of the Fife Coastal Path could be moved inland to save it from the ravages of the sea. Coastal erosion aggravated by recent storms has seen sections of the well-used path washed away and action has been demanded in a bid to preserve it. The coastal path, which runs 78 miles from the River Tay to the Forth Road Bridge, is a major draw for visitors and generates an estimated £24 million for the local economy. But sections, particularly at Elie and Dysart, have been damaged and there are fears these could endanger walkers or be washed away for good. Questioned about the issue at a Fife housing and communities committee meeting this week, Amanda Macfarlane, chief executive of the Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, admitted funding was an issue but said steps were being taken to reduce the problem. She said, "We obviously have issues about coastal erosion but with council departments we are coming up with innovative ways to solve this difficult problem. "We believe the best option is to look at moving it inland as erosion happens. We also have to look at a new shoreline management plan to identify hotspots." Ms Macfarlane said one example was dune erosion on Elie Estate, where the landowners had asked the trust for help. "They have agreed to move the path 30 metres inland in return for us helping them to put in a new fence," she said. At Dysart, land reclaimed from the sea using by-products of former coal mines has been eroded by waves.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

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


Investigation into “stinking” contamination at Fife waterfall

October 12 2017

Contamination at a waterfall on the Fife Coastal Path near Burntisland is being investigated. Walkers have described the pollution at Starley Burn as "absolutely stinking" and smelling "like ammonia". The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said the contamination had been caused by "unauthorised discharge of organic matter." Samples have been taken away for analysis and SEPA said it would not speculate on the exact nature of the contamination while the investigation was ongoing. Locals suspect it may have been caused by run-off from nearby fields. Fife Council has put up warning signs in the vicinity, urging dog walkers to keep their pets away from the water and not let them drink from the burn. The signs carry a warning that the water "may be dangerous to health". Walkers who regularly use that stretch of the coastal path took to Facebook to inform others about the hazard. One said: "Passed it today, water's brown and stinks of ammonia." Judith Moore, SEPA’s unit manager in Fife, said: “SEPA takes reports of pollution very seriously and we always urge people to inform SEPA if they are concerned so we can take action to protect the environment." Ms Moore said a member of the public had alerted the agency to the incident. “Last week we received a call through our pollution hotline about a potential pollution in the Starley Burn in Fife," she said. "Our officers confirmed that there was an unauthorised discharge of organic matter to the water and, as it is a popular area for dog walkers and there is a drinking fountain in the area, we alerted Fife Council so they could make the appropriate decisions and arrangements around public health signage. “Investigations into the source and the events that led up to this pollution event are continuing, and once they are complete we will make decisions around any appropriate enforcement action. "Officers have taken water samples which are being analysed and we will keep Fife Council informed of our findings." Anyone with concerns about pollution is urged to contact SEPA's 24 hour report line on 0800 80 70 60. Ms Moor added: "All contact can be treated as confidential. Getting details quickly will mean we can begin investigations much earlier and take effective action as necessary.”