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...
The 690th anniversary of the Declaration of Scottish Independence's signing was marked in Arbroath yesterday, as a week of Tartan Day events began. Glasgow artist Charles Anderson unveiled a commemorative plaque alongside his mural of the signing ceremony, on the platform at Arbroath railway station. He was accompanied by members of the Arbroath Abbey Timethemes historical re-enactment group, playing the roles of King Robert the Bruce and members of his royal retinue. The mural was painted by Mr Anderson in 1984 for the then Abbeygate Shopping centre and was almost scrapped after it was taken down in a refurbishment in the 1990s. It was saved from the 'skip' and is now one of the first things to catch the eye of visitors arriving in Arbroath by rail. Mr Anderson had not seen his work for more than 25 years and said he was delighted to see it was still in such good shape and had found an appropriate home. The document, often known as the Declaration of Arbroath, stated Scotland's case for self-determination in the face of English aggression. It was written by Abbot Bernard de Linton of Arbroath Abbey and sent to the Pope on behalf of King Robert the Bruce and the Scottish people. Seen as one of the earliest, most passionate statements of freedom, the document's powerful sentiments have echoed down through the centuries and have inspired those striving to liberate themselves from oppression.
An expat sculptor has solved the mystery of a beautiful carving found in an Angus fishing village. Thomas (Tam) Walker, now living in Spain, said the carving was “fashioned by these fair hands of mine” as part of an art college project in Dundee in the 1960s. Mr Walker, a former Carnoustie High art teacher, contacted The Courier after his brother Mike forwarded our article to him and he said the story brightened up his day. The hard-fired terracotta sculpture depicted Robert the Bruce at the Declaration of Arbroath and it was discovered during a village clean-up in Easthaven. An appeal for information was launched after it was found close to the old post road where the pilgrims used to travel between Arbroath Abbey and St Andrews. Easthaven was popular with travellers in the 16th and 17th centuries and artefacts have previously been found there, including pilgrims’ brooches and a 12th-century coin. Residents thought the scuplture might have been of the same vintage but Mr Walker told The Courier it was “far from being of great antiquity.” He said: “By my memory o’ awfy cauld hauns when working on it, I can date it to the winter of 1967/68. “It is made of hard-fired terracotta and any metal therein was added for support and reinforcement. “I gave this panel to someone who asked if they might have it. Who that person was, for the life of me I cannot remember. “How it got to where it was found now that is a mystery.” Mr Walker, who was born in Arbroath, said he lived with his wife for 20 years at Long Row in Easthaven before the couple moved to Spain in 2000. As part of a project for college, Mr Walker made a maquette depicting the signing of the Declaration of Independence at the abbey on April 6 1320. He said: “The Easthaven part, which is featured in the article, was an enlarged detail and this depicted Robert the Bruce, having the declaration displayed to him by a clerk while Bernard de Linton stands behind and Douglas stands in front.” Mr Walker said each of these figures was based on some of the people who took part in the 1966 pageant in Arbroath. He said his lecturers at Duncan of Jordanstone sculpture department gave him a lot of encouragement and it was with their good grace that the pieces were fired in the department kilns. A founder member of the Abbey Theatre and Carnoustie HSFP Rugby Club, Mr Walker continues to work in sculpture in a studio in Spain.
Broken glass at one of Scotland’s oldest tourist attractions could have been caused by wind damage, it has emerged. A pane of glass at the Abbot’s House in Arbroath Abbey was broken last week, sparking comment that the area was getting a reputation for vandalism. PC Colin Cunningham tweetedthat he was looking into vandalism at Arbroath Abbey, saying: “This needs to be stopped before this historic building suffers further damage.” Police confirmed officers attended after three large windows were broken at the visitor centre on March 1, and another pane was broken on Thursday. A spokesperson said: “We are investigating and appealing for witnesses.” A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said police increased their patrols of the area after large windows were broken at the end of February. She said: “I can confirm that a small pane of glass on one of the windows in the Abbot’s House was broken and repaired last week, however this could have been due to wind damage. “The broken panels have since been replaced.”
The Cutty Sark. The very name conjures up romanticised images of life on the high seas. Built on the Clyde in 1869 for the Jock Willis Shipping Line, the legendary sailing ship is the world’s sole surviving tea clipper, and was the fastest ship of her time. Today she is an award-winning visitor attraction at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. But it’s the Cutty Sark’s remarkable links with Angus and the Mearns which are being celebrated through a week-long programme of heritage events launched in the Mearns. A centrepiece event takes place on Sunday November 22 when a Historic Scotland plaque is dedicated to the Cutty Sark’s designer Hercules Linton who was born in Inverbervie’s Market Square and was educated at the former Arbroath High School. The events in Gourdon and Inverbervie will also celebrate boat builder Jeems Mowatt. Glasgow shipping merchant John Willis commissioned Linton to design the famous tea clipper, which was launched on November 22 1869. Linton later commissioned Mowatt to build two boats and supervised their construction at the Gourdon man’s yard. Mowatt built more than 200 boats in his lifetime and the Maggie Law surf boat, which celebrated its 125th year since first launch this year, is the only one to survive today. The plaque ceremony at Linton’s grave in the old Bervie kirkyard will be attended by descendants of Linton, the captain on the Cutty Sark’s maiden voyage George Moodie, and Andrew Dryburgh the carpenter’s mate on the same sail. Hercules Linton was Marion Lapper’s great great grand uncle, and she is travelling from Ireland with a friend for the occasion. However, some of the family history remains sketchy. Speaking from Dublin, Marion, 64, told The Courier: ”I would love to tell you some of my family history, but I’m afraid I can’t. All I have been told is that Hercules Linton was my great great grand uncle. My father, John William Ewing Linton, when he was alive, started to draw up a family tree, but sadly, I do not have a copy. “As far as I know, I do have a sea chest that is off the Cutty Sark, but I have no proof, only what I was told by my father. The brass name plate that should be on the lid is missing.” Jessica Lewis, curator of the Cutty Sark at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, which receives around 250,000 visitors per year, said she was “really excited” about attending the Mearns event. The Cutty Sark was the “last word” in commercial clippers at the time and Linton’s design was “quite radical” with its sleek, pointed bow. She said: “The Cutty Sark was all about making money - getting goods to market before competitors. “Linton was very daring with the design but it paid off. The Cutty Sark was at the cutting edge of commercial shipping before sailing ships gave way to steam propulsion, and the opening of the Suez Canal meant that steam ships also enjoyed a much shorter route to China.” As programme organiser, and director of the Howe o’the Mearns Heritage Association, Dave Ramsay puts his lifelong love of heritage down to being born next to Arbroath Abbey and being able to smell the North Sea in his nostrils. The retired principal planning officer for adult services with Aberdeen City Council has lived next to the sea at Catterline for 20 years. He has combined his love of music and heritage over the years through song writing and other celebrations of local history. His works include a song about the gruesome murder off Arbroath, known as the Red Head Tragedy, that led to ship’s mate Andrew Brown being sent to the gallows for the axe murder of Captain John Greig while at sea in 1865. He has also marked the Mearns connections to both Robert Burns and his Stonehaven-born father. Cutty Sark was, of course, a nickname given to the witch Nannie Dee, a fictional character created by Robert Burns in his Tam o’ Shanter. And when Burns visited the Mearns during a tour in 1787, his journey took him from Laurencekirk to Montrose, and he stopped to water his horse in Hillside. But Dave is particularly excited about the Linton Mowatt events which mark “a very important day for Inverbervie, Hercules Linton and the Cutty Sark”. He is particularly pleased that a “gap” in the Greenwich museum’s history is being plugged thanks to work he undertook with P4 pupils at Bervie school over the past year. A recording of the ‘Ballad of Hercules Linton’, recorded by him with pupils, will be presented to the museum curator and taken to London. The pupils have also received a formal letter from First Minister Nicola Sturgeon thanking them for their efforts. “It’s a remarkable story and one we are proud to celebrate,”he added. firstname.lastname@example.org
DEFENDING champion Graham Fox (Clydeway Golf) is among eight former winners in the field for the £50,000 Gleneagles Scottish PGA Championship starting on Sunday. Fox joined a distinguished roll, that includes the likes of John Panton, Eric Brown, Bernard Gallacher, Sandy Lyle and Paul Lawrie, 12 months ago Three shots clear heading into the final round, he holed a 10ft eagle putt at the 72 for a 15-under-par aggregate of 269 and a two-shot victory over Banchory’s Greig Hutcheon. The 1999 winner, Hutcheon heads into this year’s event in fine fettle, having made the cut in the PGA Championship at Wentworth and Scottish Open at Castle Stuart this season. West Linton’s Gareth Wright did likewise in the Open at Muirfield last week and will also be heading into the Tartan Tour’s flagship event feeling bullish. Former European Tour rookie of the year, Scott Henderson, joins PGA Cup team-mates Fox, Hutcheon and Wright in a 66-strong field. It also includes host club professional Andrew Jowett and Gullane’s Emma Fairnie, only the third woman to play in the event. Gordon Law, Chris Kelly, Craig Ronald, Mark Loftus, Jason McCreadie and David Orr are the other former winners in the line-up. “We are all looking forward to the week,” said Brian Mair, secretary of the PGA in Scotland. “Gleneagles is looking magnificent and I am sure the King’s Course will prove, yet again, to be a great test for the players. “The field contains many of our ex-champions, including defending champion Graham Fox. “In addition, we have Emma Fairnie competing, only the third female to do so in the history of the championship. “Whoever wins will join a very distinguished roll of honour and we wish all the players every success for the week.”
A Mearns volunteer group has taken over the stewardship of a trust set up to honour Cutty Sark designer Hercules Linton. A Historic Environment Scotland plaque was dedicated to the Inverbervie-born designer in November last year, surrounded by a programme of events. The former members of the Hercules Linton Memorial Trust have now requested its management be transferred to volunteer-run Mearns Heritage Services, formerly A Howe o’ the Mearns Heritage Association, under project director Dave Ramsay and archive officer Alan Reid. Meanwhile, a wreath was placed at Linton’s grave in the village to commemorate the 116th anniversary of his death. Dave said: “I am delighted that The Hercules Linton Memorial Trust has been revived in order to safeguard the community heritage items associated with Linton and the Cutty Sark. “Given the formal links which are now well established between the Linton Memorial Trust, and the Cutty Sark Royal Maritime Museum in Greenwich, we are now planning a series of connected maritime heritage initiatives over the coming year.” A signed copy of the Cutty Sark design plans were presented to Bervie school in January this year, to acknowledge the contribution of pupils have made to research.”
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.
A small band of freedom fighters have declared their allegiance to Angus commuters. The five amigos have found a new gnome from home on Arbroath’s gateway Declaration of Arbroath statue where they have taken up residence alongside the legendary figures of Robert The Bruce and Bernard de Linton. The five gnomes – three small figures and two larger ones – are thought to have appeared in recent days. But it’s unknown whether they were placed there by a local wag in an attempt to put a smile on the face of passing motorists, or may have been kidnapped from a town garden and carefully placed at the statue. The larger figures show no signs of being homesick, however, with a smile and a wave for every passing driver. The happy ceramic couple have already been dubbed Gnomeo and Juliet by visitors to the Arbroath Online facebook page. The Declaration of Arbroath statue is a popular public art feature at the western entrance to Arbroath, but there are plans in the pipeline to give it even greater prominence closer to the historic setting where the important document was signed in 1320. Fife artist David Annand, who trained at Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone, was commissioned to create the sculpture, which is now part of ambitious £250,000 proposals to mark the 700th anniversary of the document’s signing. The Arbroath 2020 group hopes common good ground to the front of the main Abbey entrance could be enhanced and improved to create an appropriate legacy for Arbroath of the 700th anniversary, including relocating the statue from its spot beside the A92. Behind the scenes efforts have been going on for some time and Angus councillors recently threw their weight behind the plans.
Outspoken Labour MP Diane Abbott yesterday challenged the party’s leadership over its policies on immigration, nuclear weapons and the economy as Ed Miliband sacked her as a member of his front bench team. Ms Abbott was removed as shadow public health minister a day after a reshuffle which was widely seen as boosting the presence of women in the Labour top team and reducing the influence of the Blairite centre-right. Ms Abbott used an article on The Guardian website to raise concern over Labour’s acceptance of Government cuts, calling on the party to offer “a more far-reaching critique of austerity”. She suggested Mr Miliband should consider scrapping Trident and resist advisers urging him to adopt a tougher stance on immigration. Britain’s first black woman MP added: “I have long despaired of the downward spiral of Labour’s rhetoric on immigration.”