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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...


VIDEO: Soggy Courier Country weather to give way to icy blast

January 5 2018

A deluge of rain over the past 36 hours has caused localised flooding in parts of Courier Country. Leuchars in Fife was one of the wettest areas, with 19mm of rain over the course of 24 hours, while Strathallan in Perthshire recorded 13mm. In comparison Inverbervie in the Mearns had just 4mm of rain over the same period. The downpour led to tricky driving conditions in parts of North East Fife, with the Strathkinness Low Road amongst those affected by flooding. The rain is part of a spell of adverse weather expected to affect the region over the coming days. Experts predict that Courier Country is set to be blasted by arctic conditions at the weekend, with the mercury plummeting to as low as -10C. The Met Office is predicting widespread frost, particularly in western Perthshire, with scattered snow showers predicted across Tayside and Fife. A Met Office spokesman said western Perthshire would see the weekend’s lowest temperatures. He said: “The weather is due to change. The air will come from a much more northerly direction and because of that it’s going to feel very cold. “It is easily possible for Dundee to fall below -5C. “Saturday night could see tempratures down to -10C in western Perthshire. “Cold skies mean the ground will cool very quickly and we will see widespread frost. “We anticipate that these conditions will remain in place until at least Monday.” Despite the freezing temperatures, the weekend will be dry and sunny throughout. Stronger winds from the south are then expected to pick up from Monday. Meanwhile, staff at Scotland’s biggest ski resort are gearing up for an influx of snowsport lovers this weekend. Wintry conditions at Glenshee Ski Centre throughout the past week have already led to enough snowfall for several runs to open, with management now hoping more than 1,000 people will flock to the site at the weekend. Hundreds have already made their way to the resort this week, with six runs on the Cairnwell side of the resort open yesterday morning. In a post online the centre revealed they had had an extra inch of snow overnight and into Friday morning and were hopefull of further flurries. The centre’s finance manager, Sarah McGuire, said she was hoping “at least” 1,000 people will attend this weekend. Mrs McGuire added: “We are definitely planning to be open at the weekend — temperatures have been stuck quite low.” Other parts of Scotland could experience temperatures as low as -14C, potentially making this weekend the coldest since 2010. The winter of 2010-2011 saw the coldest December since Met Office records began in 1910, with an average temprature of -1C. On December 2 the lowest temprature of the winter – -21C – was recorded at Altnaharra, Sutherland. kmcintosh@thecourier.co.uk

Readers' letters

May 24: Board, not fans, has let down Dundee FC

May 24 2010

This morning's letters discuss Dundee FC, energy, Britain, climate warnings and ferry links. Board, not fans has let down Dundee FC Sir,-How predictable that outgoing Dundee Football Club chairman Bob Brannan (May 20) should have yet another go at Jocky Scott, players, fans and Dee4Life. I have supported Dundee FC for over 50 years and the club's darkest days have always coincided with the reign of a "sugar daddy" who comes in talking big, before taking us into a regime of cuts and maladministration. I could name Angus Cook, Ron Dixon and so on. We members of Dee4Life saved this club on the understanding that no individual would again call all the shots. That dream is dead. A few months ago, Calum Melville was looking to splash out half a million pounds on Scott Robertson, now we cannot afford to take a pre-season trip to Hartlepool. The fans have done their job but the board have stopped doing theirs. Andy Boyack.29 Langholm Road,Garswood,Wigan. Harness Tay energy flow Sir,-The statement by Calum Wilson of Forth Ports (May 20) that they are approaching the establishment of wind turbines and a bio-mass plant at Dundee waterfront from a commercial development point of view is a lot of hot air, probably enough to run his wind turbines elsewhere. Many of your readers have already stated the problems with wind turbines. They are not commercially viable. This can be demonstrated by analysing the return on capital and the time that takes and studying the operational efficiency visual, noise, transmission pollution and other environmental problems. With biomass, Mr Wilson only mentions transportation energy. What about the energy used to plant, tend, harvest, strip, get to dock and load the fuel, plus the polluting gases not extracted by scrubber filters and ash disposal? I am very much in favour of using renewable energy, but let us first use the millions of watts of energy going right past our door in the Tay and install hydro turbines on the river. John Cruickshank.39 Meadowview Drive,Inchture. A nation in decline Sir,-In 1963 Charles de Gaulle said, "Britain is insular. She is maritime. She is linked through her trade, her markets and her supply lines to the most distant countries. "She pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities and only slightly agricultural ones. "She has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions. In short, Britain's very situation differs profoundly from those of the continentals." Nothing has changed, except through the actions of our treasonous governments. We are now not quite as described by General de Gaulle. William W. Scott.23 St Baldred's Road,North Berwick. NIMBYs all at sea Sir,-With regard to the current debate on the proposal to build a biomass fuel plant and turbines on the Dundee waterfront, might I suggest a collective slogan for the objectors to the project: NIMBY Not In My Boatyard. Bruce Walker.4 Lochalsh Street,Broughty Ferry. NGOs' heavy climate influence Sir,-I refer to your article about the WWF report which, apparently, confirms global warming of the Scottish climate. Scottish ski centres are enjoying their best season for years with the lowest temperatures and more snow. On other mountains, deer are dying in their hundreds, possibly thousands, from the drop in temperatures and deep snow, which prevents them reaching their traditional feeding grounds. As a daily, early-morning dog walker, I can assure Dr Dixon that there is no noticeable temperature increase where I live. In fact, the opposite is the case. This year, April and May, so far, have been cold. Yes, there were two fine days but that was always the case. I am concerned that WWF and other organisations are having too much influence over our political establishments. What about the effects of erupting volcanoes and that caused by the soft-drinks industry? A. Geddie.68 Carleton Avenue,Woodside,Glenrothes. Link Scotland to Scandinavia Sir,-Your article by Jack McKeown about his visit to the fjords in Norway (May 15) brought back fond memories of a motoring/camping holiday that we enjoyed in that country. Now that DFDS seem to have abandoned any thought of reviving sailings from Newcastle to Scandinavia, might this not be the time for Norfolkline from Rosyth, or Northlink Ferries, to provide at least a weekly service between Scotland and perhaps Kristiansand in the south of Norway? During the volcanic ash crisis, it was notable that the latter successfully ran a rescue ferry between Aberdeen and Bergen. Could this not become a regular summer-only alternative to the long-haul trip to Esbjerg in Denmark via Harwich? John Crichton.6 Northampton Place,Forfar.

UK & World

Britain could face coldest spell since 1991 with more snow on the way

February 26 2018

Snow has caused disruption across Britain and forecasters have warned more is on the way, with the country potentially facing the coldest weather since 1991.A wintry blast, dubbed “the Beast from the East”, has brought freezing temperatures, with more than 20cm of snow expected to settle by Wednesday.Forecasters have warned that another weather system, Storm Emma, will bring blizzards, gales and sleet.The storm will move north through Europe and is due to hit the UK on Thursday and Friday.Met Office forecaster Frank Saunders said: “Parts of England and Wales are likely to see their coldest spell of weather since at least 2013, and possibly since 1991.“This could lead to dangerous conditions on roads and pavements and have an impact on people’s health.”Storm Emma will be “significantly disruptive” with the risk of power cuts and transport delays.Lows of minus 6C were recorded in Aviemore, Scotland, overnight Sunday into Monday.Doctors have warned that the NHS could struggle to cope with the extra strain caused by the weather.People are being warned to check on elderly or vulnerable neighbours during the cold spell.The public have also been asked to look out for the homeless and report anyone sleeping rough in the freezing conditions to their local council.Amber warnings of snow have been issued by the Met Office for north-east, central and south-eastern England on Tuesday, and eastern Scotland on Wednesday.It warned that some rural communities could become cut off, with power outages and disruption to mobile phone services likely.By the middle of the week, the majority of Britain is being warned of the potential for delays on the roads, trains and in the air.A less severe yellow warning for snow is in place from Monday to Thursday.Temperatures of minus 5C (23F) over the weekend were the lowest recorded in the week leading up to March 1 – the first day of spring – since 1986.The wind chill, which could see parts of the UK feeling as cold as minus 15C (5F), rivals the temperatures forecast for parts of northern Norway and Iceland.

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


Forecasters say the country will be split on referendum day

September 15 2014

Forecasters are predicting a 50/50 split on referendum day and that’s just the weather. The polling turnout on the west coast of Scotland could be set for a boost on Thursday with the Met Office expecting temperatures to reach 20 or even 21 degrees. In contrast there will be lower temperatures and a chance of rain in the east as a weather front comes in from the North Sea. However, a Met Office spokeswoman said polling stations in Tayside and Fife should escape any major downpour. She added: “We are seeing an east/west split as far as the weather is concerned. “In Glasgow it will be a fairly nice day and we could even see some unseasonal temperatures. “Over in Dundee it is more likely to be cloudy with a chance of light rain, with tempertaures a bit lower, maybe around 16 or 17 degrees. “But it will still be fairly reasonable for the time of year.”

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.


Dundee sees coldest April day for a long time

May 5 2010

Dundee experienced its lowest April temperature in almost 30 years last month, according to figures released by the Scottish Crop Research Institute in Invergowrie. Head meteorological observer Marion Grassie said the mercury fell to minus 2.8C on April 2 the lowest since 1981 and the only day last month when the temperature dipped below zero. The lowest grass temperature, minus 6.3C, was recorded that day, the lowest since 2000. The highest temperature recorded was 17.3C on April 26. The daily air mean temperature last month was 8.1C, compared to a long-term average of 7.3 degrees C. At 44.2mm the rainfall for the month was broadly in line with the long-term average of 44.6mm, however, more than a quarter of that fell in a single day on April 30, when 12mm of rainfall was recorded. The sun shone for 177.3 hours last month, 24% more than the long-term average of 143.3.


Freezing Arctic weather to continue: How will Tayside and Fife fare this weekend?

December 8 2017

A blast of Arctic weather brought freezing temperatures to Scotland on Friday, grinding trains to a halt and causing white-out conditions on roads. Temperatures plummeted to a low of -3.8C in Renfrewshire in the wake of Storm Caroline on Friday morning and are forecast to plunge as low as -8C in regions which have experienced snowfall into Saturday. Despite the odd flurry, Tayside and Fife missed out on the worst of the winter weather once again. However the A93 Perth to Braemar road was forced to close at the Spittal of Glenshee due to snow on Friday morning, while the B974 Fettercairn to Banchory road, or Cairn O’Mount, was also briefly shut as a result of the conditions. Trains between Perth and Inverness were affected by snow in the north, with more than 3in of the white stuff landing in Aviemore. https://twitter.com/ScotRail/status/939148502420148224 Journeys including the 6.10pm from Glasgow to Inverness were terminated in Perth with others services experiencing delays of 45 minutes due to a signalling fault said to be brought on by the snow. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/perth-kinross/560757/tayside-trains-delayed-3in-snow-lands-highlands/ A ScotRail statement said conditions had been "a challenge", adding: "We have some signalling problems at a few locations between Carrbridge and Inverness which are suspected to be caused by snow conditions." The freezing temperatures prompted bosses at the Tay Road Bridge to warn motorists to "take extra care" on the crossing. Strathallan School has been forced to cancel all of Saturday’s eight home fixtures against Dundee High due to frozen pitches. Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Moray and the Highlands and Islands experienced the most snowfall, with a number of schools across the north and north-east forced to close. A Met Office yellow warning of snow and ice remains in place for Tayside and Fife until 6pm on Saturday, however forecasters said there was only a "5%-6% chance" of snow for much of the region. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/scotland/560353/tayside-road-closed-arctic-blast-brings-freezing-temperatures-snow-scotland/ Spokeswoman for the organisation Nicola Maxey said: "If we look at Saturday temperatures are hovering just above freezing at 2C or 3C at most during the day. "You've got some quite strong west and north-westerly winds which are causing wind chill, although temperatures get to around 2C it is going to feel more like -4C or -5C. "There will be some sunshine around, but it is not going to feel warm. We have an Arctic maritime air mass. Storm Caroline has moved out of the way and allowed cold air to sink from the north. "Sunday is a very similar day but with more cloud and less sunshine. Overnight temperatures into Saturday and into Sunday will be at least -4C and probably below that in rural areas, over higher ground where there is lying snow in particular. "The warning area is quite a big one for snow and ice. Any rainfall over the weekend or showers will fall as snow because the temperatures are so cold. There is not a lot of moisture in your forecast. There is a 5%-6% chance (of snow). "The (yellow) warning is valid until 6pm on Saturday. You are looking at, quite widely, 2cm-3cm of snow. There is a chance of 10cm-20cm over higher ground in northern Scotland." An amber warning of snow has also been put in place for Wales and parts of England on Sunday. Meanwhile Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) said it had restored power to more than 18,000 homes throughout the course of Storm Caroline, which brought widespread chaos to Scotland on Thursday.

UK & World

Commuters braced for ‘Beast from the East’ bringing snow and disruption

February 25 2018

Commuters have been warned to expect disruption to roads and public transport as a snowy blast dubbed “the Beast from the East” hits Britain.Some parts of the UK are set to feel colder than the Arctic Circle as freezing temperatures continue into the week ahead.Amber warnings of snow have been issued by the Met Office for north east, central and south eastern England on Tuesday, and eastern Scotland on Wednesday.It warned of “heavy snow showers”, with a spokesman adding: “Travel delays on roads are likely, stranding some vehicles and passengers.“Some delays and cancellations to rail and air travel are likely.“There is a good chance that some rural communities could become cut off.“Power cuts are likely and other services, such as mobile phones, may be affected.”Widespread snow is forecast, and the Met Office has issued yellow weather warnings for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.By the middle of the week, the majority of Britain is being warned of the potential for delays on the roads, trains and in the air.A less severe yellow warning for snow is in place from Monday to Wednesday.Greater Anglia (GA) said it was limiting its services from Monday in anticipation of the snowy blast.An advisory on its website warned that due to the forecast of sub-zero temperatures next week and large amounts of snow, the rail operator planned to halt its Monday night train services at 10pm.A limited service will run on Tuesday.South Eastern urged passengers to finish their journeys before 6pm on Monday to avoid potential disruption.Transport for London (TfL) warned passengers to check ahead of their journeys as disruptions were possible on Underground and Overground services due to the low temperatures forecast.Train operator C2C also warned of limited services, advising trips after 9pm on Monday could be altered or cancelled.Lows of minus 5C (23F) recorded over the weekend marked the lowest temperature in the week leading up to March 1, the first day of spring, since 1986.The wind chill, which could see parts of the UK feeling as cold as minus 15C (5F), rivals the temperatures forecast for parts of northern Norway and Iceland.The Met Office said that by the end of Wednesday, more than 20cm of snow may have accumulated in some parts of eastern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.Met Office meteorologist Charlie Powell said: “The UK is on track for some really cold weather this week. It’s not going to be record-breaking, but it’ll be pretty exceptional – winds are going to make it feel minus 10C (14F) to minus 15C (5F) during the day.“We will see the first signs of that tonight in the shape of snow showers working all the way down the east coast.“That continues into Monday, with snow showers moving across the country during the day before reaching Wales.“Winds are then going to strengthen and we could see some easterly gales through the eastern Channel and east Anglia by the middle of the week.“That’s going to make it feel really cold, daytime temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday will be struggling to get above freezing for most of the country.”He added: “By Thursday evening, there are growing signs there could be some significant snowfall across southern England.“Unusually for Britain, the snow is going to be quite dry, so it will blow around and gather in drifts and we could see some blizzard conditions.“We don’t want to scare people, but people should make sure they are prepared for some seriously cold weather.”