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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

Search for the lost buildings of the Carse of Gowrie

February 1 2017

A major drive to recover evidence of lost architectural heritage along the Carse of Gowrie has been launched. The Tay Landscape Partnership is to carry out a year-long study to hunt down and understand more about the region’s lost earth buildings. Over the last three years the project has worked with local people to celebrate the distinctive mudwall homes that survive in and around Errol and give grants for their repair, but now they have been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to begin a study of the whole area. The reconnaissance effort will be led by heritage expert Tom Morton who expects that the study will unearth many interesting finds. ‘We did a quick survey in 2012 which found 40 surviving and 60 lost earth buildings,” said Mr Morton of Arc Architects. “This was amazing as the records only showed four, but we know there’s still a lot more out there to learn a lot about how people built with local materials in the past. “Earth is also used in modern sustainable construction because it is natural, low-carbon, and recyclable. “Although the tradition died out in the 20th century, later this year people in Errol will build the first mudwall building in generations — a shelter in the local park." Sophie Nicol of the Tay Landscape Partnership added: “It’s a great opportunity for people to get involved in learning about their local heritage. “We are looking for volunteers to help comb through old records and check on the ground for remains of vanished buildings.” Anyone who is interested is invited to an evening with the project team at the Blend Coffee Lounge, 275 High Street, Perth, on Friday February 3 from 6pm to 8pm. There will be information about the project and how people can get involved. The team can also be contacted by phone on 01334 659800 or by email office@arc-architects.com.

Perth & Kinross

Children walk in the footsteps of Scotland’s kings

April 1 2017

Sharp-eyed young archaeologists have unearthed some interesting finds while combing land near the historic Scone Palace. Worked flint and 600-year-old decorative fragments of medieval pottery were among the discoveries made by primary school pupils from Robert Douglas Memorial School in Scone. Led by Sophie Nicoll, historic environment officer for the Tay Landscape Project, the primary 4, 5 and 6 pupils took part in two days of field walking - a technique for finding or studying archaeological sites by walking systematically across a ploughed field, collecting artefacts on the surface. Scone Palace opens its doors to the public for its summer season on Saturday April 1 and marketing manager Margo Baird said: "We are delighted to be working with Tay Landscape Partnership again, and the recently ploughed Mansion Field near Balboughty Home Farm is perfect for this project. “Since we'll be celebrating VisitScotland's Year of History and Archaeology all year, this seems like a fitting event to kick things off. "Scone Palace Estates has played an important part in Scottish history and the children will be walking in the footsteps of Scotland's ancient kings. “ The archaeological field walking is part of a Tay Landscape Partnership project called Early Settlers, looking for evidence of Mesolithic people in and around the area. As part of their class work, the RDM children have been reading the novel Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver. Set in Mesolithic times, the novel reveals much about the lives of hunter-gatherers who lived in Scotland 10,000 years ago. "This is the last ever session of the project and we are really excited to be working with Robert Douglas Memorial School to see what we can find on a ploughed field in Scone Estate,” said Sophie Nicoll. “The field walking is part of Mesolithic Week, a full week of early prehistoric education at the school, with ancient crafts and skills, a pop-up museum and a whole range of educational and fun events for the pupils." Tay Landscape Partnership is delivering 28 community heritage and environment projects over a four-year period. It is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and led by Perth & Kinross Heritage Trust and Perth & Kinross Countryside Trust


V&A chiefs confident of hitting funding target

January 10 2013

THE PARTNERS behind the V&A at Dundee project say they are confident they will reach their funding target. Design Dundee also insisted it is still working towards opening the design museum to the public in 2015, although admitted the schedule could be affected by circumstances outside their control. Building the museum, which has been designed by Kengo Kuma, at its chosen site by the waterfront will cost £33 million. Another £12m will be needed to fit it out. Design Dundee is tapping into a range of sources as it tries to reach its £45m target. The Scottish Government has been the biggest supporter, pledging a third of the cost. A spokesman for the partners said: “We are progressing with our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund, who have given us a first-phase pass on a total bid for £9.2m. “We are continuing to work on an application to the European Regional Development Fund and are working on an application for arts lottery funding. “We are also working on other possible contributions but are not in a position to discuss these at this time.” The outcome of the Heritage Lottery Fund application will be known this year. Efforts are also being made to attract cash from private sources. A campaign board has been recruited to find individuals, trusts and companies willing to donate but Design Dundee has declined to confirm how successful this process has been to date. Last year a change was made to the site of the V&A to reduce the risk of the project going over budget. The original vision had been for most of the museum to be built out over the Tay, but it has been brought back mostly onshore. Much of the museum will occupy land where the Olympia leisure centre is now. A delay in opening the Olympia’s replacement means that demolition work cannot start before the summer. This has led to worries that the opening of the V&A could be delayed into 2016. The Design Dundee spokesman was unable to rule that out, but said: “Our long-stated aim is to have the building complete in 2015 and open to the public. There are numerous factors which may affect this schedule, many of them outwith our control, but for the moment we are working to the 2015 date.” grsmith@thecourier.co.uk


Fae Me Tay You — Project asks older Dundonians to pass on their stories and songs

February 10 2017

A museum has been awarded funding to create a children’s book based on stories told by Dundonians. The Verdant Works is appealing for local people aged 60 and over to come forward and share their memories of the city, which will then be made into short stories and poems for the book. The museum has received £3,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards the project, called Stories of Dundee - Fae Me Tay You. Memories of the city can include stories, traditions, poems or folk songs, which will be curated by Anna Murray, learning and audiences officers from the Verdant Works in collaboration with local singer Lynne Campbell. The book, which will be distributed to the city’s primary schools, will be illustrated by Duncan of Jordanstone graduate Caitlin Bowbeer. Anna said: “This project is all about sharing, learning, valuing and celebrating our local heritage in Dundee – something that we are passionate about at Verdant Works – and we can’t wait to get started in March!” The project is part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. The stories will also be shared during special interactive singing and storytelling performances for children, community groups and a performance for the general public at Verdant Works on June 15. Lucy Casot, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “It’s our ambition that people of all ages will have the chance to discover something new about the heritage they care about. “We’re delighted that, thanks to funding from the National Lottery, Stories Fae Me Tay You will be opening the door to fun, learning and everlasting memories for many people as we celebrate this special year.” Anyone who wants to be involved must be available one February 25, March 4 and March 18 between 10.30am and 12.30pm. For more information and to book a place, call Anna on 07341127417 or e-mail verdantlearning@dundeeheritage.co.uk

Angus & The Mearns

Angus project gets cash boost to weave its magic

July 4 2013

An “almost forgotten” way of life in Tayside is to be revived by a community group after the award of a five-figure heritage boost. Weaving was once an inextricable part of life in Forfar, much as it was in the fabric of Dundee and Kirriemuir society. Now the trade is to be given a new lease of life with £23,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund Young Roots Programme to the Pitstop in Forfar. Project worker Dawn Mullady said the Weaving Our Way Through History project is a one-year partnership between the Pitstop and Angus Archives and will enable people to re-engage with their cultural history. The heritage and media group recently found little documentary evidence of Forfar’s weavers and their history. The project will start in September and offer a range of activities such as visits to weaving museums, photography and drama. The findings will be interpreted through a public play reenacting the lifestyle of a Forfar weaver. Financial support from the Nine Incorporated Trades of Dundee has allowed the group to buy weaving looms, and the group is offering the community the opportunity to have a go at weaving. Ms Mullady said: “We have a particular interest in the local community to get involved, if there is any ex-weaver who have an interest in this project we would encourage them to come along and share their knowledge and skills. Forfar has a strong heritage and we believe this should be explored, interpreted and celebrated.” Heritage Lottery Fund chief Colin McLean said the project has “sparked a real interest from the young people in exploring their heritage”. “We are delighted to support such an innovative project, he added. Project committee chairman Stuart Mackie said it is important to retain skills that are gradually being lost over the passage of time. He said: “It is fantastic that we have secured these funds to explore an almost forgotten trade of Forfar. “It is important not only to retain the knowledge from a historical perspective but to retain the traditional skills so future generations can benefit from them.” The group are interested to know the name of the last handloom weaver in Forfar, and any information on the subject can be forwarded to the email address below.

Perth & Kinross

Blairgowrie church set for major restoration

October 3 2017

A Perthshire church will undergo a major restoration thanks to a major grant. St Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church in Blairgowrie has received £108,200 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Scotland for repairs to the building, with work due to begin “imminently.” The project will carry out major structural repairs, install ceiling insulation and improve internal lighting. Additionally, a range of initiatives will be undertaken by volunteers from within the parish and the diocese to widen knowledge of the architectural and historical significance of the church. Preparatory work is already underway to produce a heritage and photographic exhibition, and audio visual display. The church website will be further developed and enhanced with heritage information and social media will be used to disseminate information. Guided tours of the church will be offered to school children and visitors when the building is restored. The church, which was opened in 1856, will be covered in scaffolding for around six months re-opening in spring 2018. A similar award from Historic Environment Scotland, a range of smaller donations from other bodies and a programme of fundraising initiatives by parishioners will all contribute to the costs of the project. Father Gregory Umanna said: “St Stephen’s Church has been an integral and much valued place of worship in the Blairgowrie area for 180 years. Parishioners and priests have worked hard over the generations to build, maintain and improve this important and historic building. “With the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund, this major restoration project will help assure its future for generations to come.” He added: “In the 20th century, the parish, already home to small Irish and Italian communities, would then swell every summer with berry pickers from Dundee and the west of Scotland. "Nowadays, eastern European students are warmly welcomed into the church while working on local farms, adding to the multi-cultural nature of the modern congregation and its attached primary school.” Lucy Casot, head of HLF Scotland, commented: “Essential and urgent repairs to St Stephen's RC Church in Blairgowrie are an excellent example of how HLF can help conserve a much loved building so it can continue to serve its local community.”


Rosyth Parish Church’s ‘homecoming’ assured by heritage cash

September 11 2013

A Fife congregation forced to abandon its spiritual home has had its prayers answered with a lottery windfall. Rosyth Parish Church has been pledged more than £200,000 by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Scotland to help restore its B-listed building in the heart of the town. Worship in the 82-year-old structure ended around nine years ago, when the congregation moved into St Columba’s Church. A survey of the building found extensive dry rot and a need for costly roof repairs and general upgrading. Over the last few years local fundraising has taken place and members learned of the lottery grant of £104,600, matching that from Historic Scotland. Deacon Morag Crawford said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this grant. The parish church has been at the centre of life in Rosyth on its present site for over 80 years. “Due to the state of repair, the congregation has been unable to worship in the building for some time and, as the town approaches its centenary in a few years time, this will allow the building to continue into the future.” Session clerk Sheena Currie added: “We are pleased to see things starting to move forward and look forward to returning to the building in the not-too-distant future.” Essential conservation work will be carried out, followed by the installation of eco-friendly heating, lighting and insulation and other work to make the building into a multi-purpose facility for worship and community use. The news was welcomed by local councillor Mike Shirkie, who told The Courier: “I have been working with the church group and am delighted that they have been successful in the lottery bid because the restoration of the church is for a church and a community hub. “It is hugely important for the town centre regeneration work.” Mr Shirkie paid tribute to “a remarkable group” at the church. “At one stage it was threatened the building may have to come down and a lot of people have carried out a lot of hard work to get to where they are today. This is a real lift for the town it is something of which we can be really proud.” Rosyth was built as a garden city when the naval dockyard was developed in the early 1900s and the church was designed in 1930 by Hugh Mottram, a pupil of Raymond Unwin, developer of the garden city concept. Colin McLean, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland, said: “Rosyth Parish Church is an important part of the town’s heritage. “Its striking architecture is part of Rosyth’s identity, while the community space inside is busy with people brought together through shared interests. “The Heritage Lottery Fund is pleased to be able to help secure the future of this historic building as it nears its centenary celebrations and hopes that the community will continue to benefit from its existence for many more years to come.”

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.


Lomonds and Tay to benefit from £3m funding

July 3 2013

More than £3 million of Heritage Lottery Fund will help conserve two diverse landscapes in the region. The distinctive volcanic landscape of the Lomond Hills in Fife has been awarded £1.71m while the silvery Tay near Perth has received £1.43m through the fund’s landscape partnership programme. The Tay Landscape Partnership Scheme, led by Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust and Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust, covers an area rich in biodiversity, agriculture, archaeology and history and will see more than 40 organisations deliver 29 projects. Bob Ellis, chairman of Perth and Kinross Countryside Trust, said: “I cannot stress enough how exciting this news is for Perthshire.” Meanwhile. the Living Lomonds focuses on an area of Fife taking in the Lomond Hills and contrasting communities to the north and south, including Falkland and historic mining communities. Fife Coast and Countryside Trust chief executive Amanda McFarlane said five new posts would be created to support communities and partners to deliver the work. Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Scotland Colin McLean said: “Our species and habitats are under constant threat. “Recent reports such as State of Nature launched by Sir David Attenborough, and the Scottish Government’s 2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity plan, highlight the need to act now if we are to protect our biodiversity and the massive contribution it makes to our economy.” Over the past six years, HLF has been helping protect some of Scotland’s most treasured landscapes, from Scapa Flow in Orkney to the Ochil hills of central Scotland, to the Solway coast and river valleys.