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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...

Perth & Kinross

Glenalmond College at the heart of global reunion

November 16 2015

Perthshire’s Glenalmond College was at the centre of what is believed to be the world’s first continuous global reunion at the weekend. On Saturday the entire school gathered to celebrate with a fireworks display while former pupils (OGs), parents, staff and friends of Glenalmond posted “selfies” wherever they were in the world at 7pm local time. Initially kicking off the 24- hour celebration was Auckland, New Zealand, but events swiftly moved westwards to Sydney, Melbourne, Singapore, Kenya, Qatar, Germany, Geneva, London, Glasgow, Perthshire, Peru, the US and Canada. Glenalmond’s warden Elaine Logan said: “It was amazing to think that throughout the world in every continent someone, somewhere today was thinking of Glenalmond and taking part in this global event.”

Perth & Kinross

£4 million of improvements at Glenalmond College

March 21 2015

A top Perthshire school has announced a £4 million plan to improve its facilities. Glenalmond College will use the cash to upgrade classrooms and improve the computer systems at the 167-year-old school. Additionally the boarding accommodation will be improved, alongside an extensive development of Glenalmond’s sporting facilities. The planned developments include a new international standard astro-turf pitch for hockey and a new first team rugby and lacrosse pitch with a 100-seat spectator stand and training facilities. The school also plans a cardio-vascular fitness suite and dance and aerobics studio. Half of the fund has been secured with the support of the Bank of Scotland, while the remaining £2 million will be generated through donations and fundraising. In the last twelve months over half a million pounds has been raised. Gordon Woods, the school’s out-going warden, said: “This is a very exciting time for Glenalmond which will be an important phase in the school’s development. “The Teaching and Learning Project reinforces our commitment to academic improvement and this investment programme means that we will be able to underpin that academic development with upgraded facilities in the classrooms, on the sports pitches and in the boarding houses.” Andy McKie, relationship director, SME banking Scotland at Bank of Scotland, added: “Glenalmond College is a renowned education institution recognised for its academic excellence worldwide. “However, no organisation can rest on its laurels and through this significant investment in infrastructure and first-class facilities for its pupils, the school will continue to go from strength to strength as it enters a new phase in its evolution.” Glenalmond was founded in 1847, as Trinity College, by future prime minister William Gladstone and James Hope-Scott. Glenalmond was an all-boys school until 1990, becoming fully co-educational in 1995. It counts actor Robbie Coltrane and former Scotland rugby captain Rob Wainwright amongst its former pupils.


Glenalmond 8 Strathallan 52: Brilliant Strathallan too strong for Glenalmond in All-Perthshire Schools Final

December 6 2017

Favourites Strathallan School claimed their first Scottish Schools Cup with a hugely impressive all-round display and a record points total overpowering a brave Glenalmond College team at BT Murrayfield. Playing at a pace their near-neighbours couldn’t cope with, the first All-Perthshire final in the competition’s history was always Strathallan’s after a three-try response to conceding a score after barely a minute had been played. Strath’s power and athleticism in the pack with skipper Murphy Walker and towering lock Cameron Henderson prominent, combined with real speed in the backline brilliantly marshalled by stand-off Ross McCorkindale and man of the match centre Angus Vipond, left Glenalmond living off scraps of possession. Full-back Ben Morrison, skipper Rafe Houston and big tighthead George Breese did what they could, but Strath always seemed to have an extra gear or off-load when it mattered, despite the constant rain throughout. "It's huge for the school," said captain Walker. "We'd been in four semi-finals before and never quite got through but to get here and win is a some achievement. "We were given a little fright at the start but we always thought we'd come through if we kept playing as we can." Glenealmond director of rugby Graham Smith said that he was proud of his team. "We knew who were were playing against, they are a quality side. Our only aim was to play better than the last time we played them and we did. "We tried to play attractive and entertaining rugby and never gave up." Underdog Glenalmond stunned the favourites with a brilliant try – the first scored against Strathallan in the cup this season - after just 80 seconds on their first real attack of the game. From a solid scrum on halfway, captain Houston attacked the line and made a clean break, beating another defender and then throwing a fine miss-pass to the supporting Morrison, who flew in for the opening score. However the full-back had to drop-kick the conversion as the ball fell off the tee and missed, and Strathallan quickly responded. As Glenalmond tried to exit their own 22 from the restart, the Strath pack turned the ball over, and there was a neat combination between McCorkindale and Ollie Smith to put Calum McKeown in behind the posts, Vipond adding the simple conversion. And Strath’s speed and dynamism made further inroads as their big pack began to dominate the ball, massive lock Henderson proving a huge force. The Glenalmond defence showed some tenacious resistance but first Struan Robertson darted from a ruck for his side’s second try, and within three minutes Finlay Laird just got the ball down at the corner after McKeown again came into the line at pace. Vipond converted both for a 21-5 lead and Glenalmond needed some time on the ball, a timely interception providing it only for Strathallan to show their strength in defence. Morrison kicked a penalty as Glenalmond got some reward for their endeavour, but in the final minutes of the half Strath reasserted control with two more tries. Glenalmond thought they’d stopped a Strath attack forcing a fumble from Smith, but the hack clear ended the advantage and the ball ended in the hands of wing Tom Clark, who weaved his way through tackles for a brilliant solo score. Just before the break McCorkindale made a smart break, off-loaded to Robertson and although the lock was held short, No 8 Alex Marsh followed up for Strath’s fifth try of the first half. There was no respite for Glenalmond as the second half began, a set move off lineout ball and McCorkindale’s neat pass to Laird allowing the wing to gallop in from 35 metres for his second try. Glenalmond got a lift from a couple of fine runs by Morrison, but when Strath got the ball back they were ruthless again, powering through the forwards and then opening up wide, with Vipond slicing through for the seventh try from 25 metres, converting it himself. The impressive Smith scored a deserved try in the dying minutes to take the score over the half-century. In the Under-16 final, George Watson’s College were much too strong for Stewart’s Melville, running out 64-19 winners. Glenalmond College: Ben Morrison; Thomas Roynon Brown, Ben Porter, Will Laird, Miles Kinge; Rafe Houston (capt), Thomas Godfrey-Faussett; Ruairidh Orr Ewing, Finn McCarthy, Goerge Breese; Angis Fitzpatrick, James Houldsworth; Jock Stodart, Cameron Bullard, Tom Porter. Replacements: Wilf Weir, Jamie Morrison, Jack Denton, Henry Marlow, Luarence Kinge, Robert Leader, Will Arnot. Strathallan School: Calum McKeown; Tom Clark, Ollie Smith, Angus Vipond, Finlay Laird; Ross McCorkindale, Aedan Brennan; Hamish White, Greg Clunas, Murphy Walker (capt); Struan Robertson, Cameron Henderson; Lewis Webster, Alex Marsh, Yanick Sutcliffe. Replacements: Cairn Ramsay, Edward Murray-John, Rory Bayne, Lewis Louden, James McCaig. Referee: Ian Kenny.

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

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.

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

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show - now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) - a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.