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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

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.

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

UK & World

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.

Scottish equestrian centre will re-open in June

May 26 2015

One of Scotland’s former top livery and competition centres will re-open its doors to equestrianism on June 1. Renamed and rebranded as ‘Blue Ridge Equestrian Centre’ the site at Sheildhill, Falkirk previously known as Kingsbarn has been purchased by Slamannan farmer and businessman Alasdair Beaton and his family. The Beaton’s move to re-establish the centre comes just three months after selling agents Baird Lumsden set a closing date on the sale of Kingsbarns on behalf of liquidators Grainger Corporate Rescue. “We only received the keys to the centre during the last fortnight, so it has been very hectic to get the centre up and running again,” confirmed Mr Beaton’s wife Linda, on Tuesday. She said the family is excited for the future of Blue Ridge and they hope the news they are re-opening the centre will be well received by the Scottish equestrian community. According to Mrs Beaton, the centre will be managed on a day-to-day basis for the family by Lisa Mcilreavy. Blue Ridge EC will open its doors to horses on full livery only, from June 1, but Mrs Beaton confirmed they certainly plan to host competitions including British Showjumping further down the line. An open day will take place at Blue Ridge EC on Sunday, June 14, 2015, for anyone wishing to look around. “The day will include free pony rides and demonstrations and will give everyone the opportunity to see the facilities,” explained Mrs Beaton. The Beatons are well-known amidst the farming community in Central Scotland, breeding and showing pedigree Texel sheep from their farm at Wester Crosshill. Indeed, Mr Beaton previously set a world record, in 2011, with the purchase of a £33,600 record priced Texel ewe called Elle at Carlisle. The Beatons, who have always had horses on their family farm, have also forged an association with British Showjumping in Scotland over recent years. Under the banner of the family’s building firm Chemcem Scotland’s premier Bridge Care Company Mr Beaton sponsors top showjumper Ron Brady and also supports BS competition across the country. Showjumpers at the annual Royal Highland Show vie for top honours in the Chemcem Accumulator competition, a feature top score class that includes a ‘Joker’ fence. This contest will take place for 2015 at Ingliston on the newly developed all-weather Ring 6, on the Sunday of the four-day agricultural showcase. equestrian@thecourier.co.uk

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.

Tarrant adds extra dimension to Fife Show

May 14 2014

For the first time in Fife Show history an Irish coursebuilder is being brought to Cupar, adding a new dimension to the fierce showjumping competition in the Kinloss Estate arenas. In something of a “one-off ”, FEI-level international designer James Tarrant, from Tralee, in County Kerry, will create a fresh new challenge for the riders. His attendance has been made possible as a result of sponsorship from tack and clothing suppliers Fosterton Equine & Pet, from nearby Leslie. Adding to an already packed schedule of showjumping classes comes the introduction, for the first time at Fife, of two BS club classes giving rise to 80cm and 90cm competition. “It’s hugely exciting and really something of a coup to have the courses designed and built by Mr Tarrant,” said Sandra Low-Mitchell, of the Balcormo Stud, Leven, who has helped to organise the competition. “We’ve added 80cm and 90cm classes for 2014 for the first time, too and with classes right up to 1m30 and four Royal Highland Show qualifying classes on offer, there really will be something for everyone at this year’s show,” explained Sandra. “It will be a brilliant competition.” This year all seven BS classes have attracted strong sponsorship, with prizes in kind at BS club level and prize money for each of the feature classes, courtesy of Innes Johnston Solicitors, Hutchinson Networks, Eden Veterinary Practice, Copland Construction and Kim Hood and Gary Hood Farriers. Sponsorship from the Dean Park Hotel Kirkcaldy, Taxi Travel, Kilmaron Electrical and Balcormo Equestrian will also enable each Royal Highland Show qualifying class winner to leave the arena with an embroidered rug as a top prize. Sponsored by Cairnie Fruit Farm, the 80cm and 90cm classes are expected to be full. As a result, entries for these classes will be accepted as pre-entry only, and limited on a first-come first-served basis of 30 horse-and-rider combinations. BS Club entries should be sent to S Low-Mitchell, Balcormo, Leven, Fife, KY8 5QF. Entries to the 1m10 open, H&H Foxhunter (incorporating the Andrew Hamilton Coach RHS Foxhunter championship qualifier), Aurora Hotels RHS championship qualifier, Power and Performance RHS Grade C qualifier and Fife Show 1m30 open (incorporating the James Smith Fencing RHS Young Masters championship qualifier) will be taken on the day. Fife Show is on Saturday, May 24, at Kinloss House, Cupar. equestrian@thecourier.co.uk

Rocktalk

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.

‘Exciting’ new BS show launches at RHS showground

May 29 2014

The Scottish branch of British Showjumping has launched a new summer show, set on the hallowed turf of the Royal Highland’s Showground. Dubbed the ‘Summer Extravaganza’ the new competition will take place for its inaugural year at Ingliston, outside Edinburgh, on Saturday, July 19, and Sunday, July 20. The show is expected to prove highly popular, with classes for all levels of affiliated BS competition, according to Central Scotland representative Anne Logan. “Scotland has always traditionally been awarded the first two direct qualifiers for the Horse of the Year Show for the Foxhunter and Newcomers second rounds,” she said. “We’ve been keen to hold these HOYS qualifiers on grass for a number of years now, so this new summer event will provide Scotland’s riders with a great new stage for the qualifiers. “It really will be something a little bit new and exciting. It is hugely exciting to be able to bring more British Showjumping to the Royal Highland Showground,” she added. “Ingliston really is a location that is so special to Scotland’s riders, but traditionally not everyone has been able to compete there. Now, at the Summer Extravaganza, riders of all level and ability will all be able to.” The show will incorporate two new Scottish grand finals The Loch Leven Equine Practice 1m05 Championship and the LPW Finance 1m15 Championship. Qualifying rounds for these competitions are now under way at BS venues across the country, including at Morris EC, Kingsbarn, Tillyoch, Inchcoonans, SNEC, Ingliston Country Club and at The Cabin. The top five eligible riders from each qualifying class will gain passage to the respective championship finals. Each of these grand finals, as well as the qualifiers for HOYS, will take place at the Summer Extravaganza in the arena fondly known to riders at the Highland as ‘Ring Six’. Amateur classes from British Novice and upwards will take place in the ‘Thistle arena’. While the schedule for the two-day competition has yet to be finalised, Mrs Logan said the show will undoubtedly provide plenty of “razzamatazz” for both riders and spectators. “The Highland Showground is perfectly suited for this type of competition with its acres of hardstanding for parking so we really hope this will pave the way for more events in the future at Ingliston, for the benefit and enjoyment of the equestrian fraternity.” equestrian@thecourier.co.uk Organisers of the Hopetoun International Horse Trials have also added affilliated BS competition to their action-packed weekend of equestrian activity. The Horse Trials run from Thursday, June 26 until Sunday, June 29 with showjumping now a new feature for the Friday (June 27) line-up. Set on the stunning West Lawn of the Hopetoun Estate, outside South Queensferry, three BS classes will be staged for junior and senior riders. A Small Pony Open (138cm), a Speed Class and a Grand Prix will provide a prize pot of approximately £3,000 for riders. “With Hopetoun House as the backdrop, this will be one of the most spectacular arenas in the country,” said organiser Stuart Buntine. “We look forward to this becoming a regular part of the Horse Trials weekend.” Scotland’s Pony Clubs have also been invited to Hopetoun to take part in a team showjumping contest on the closing day of the event. Full information is available from www.hopetounhorsetrials.co.uk

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