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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...


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.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus councillor inspired by great-granny’s essay on the suffragists

February 9 2018

An Angus councillor has unearthed a fascinating insight into men’s views on the suffragists as the nation commemorated the centenary of some women winning the right to vote. Brenda Durno, SNP member for Arbroath and East Lunan, has been so inspired by an essay written by her great-grandmother in 1904, she is hoping to donate it to a museum in the north east. The amusing reflection was written in the Doric language by Isabella Moir, a 12-year-old pupil at Belhelvie School in Aberdeenshire. She was the eldest of 10 children and had two sisters and seven brothers. Councillor Durno said: “The celebration for the 100 years since women won the right to vote made me think of the essay. “My great grandmother was born in September 1892 and died in May 1992. “She latterly lived in Potterton with my aunt and uncle who ran the shop there and I found the essay when she died.” Mrs Durno chose to enter local politics in the footstep of her father, the SNP councillor Alex Shand, but admitted her great-grandmother was a Liberal supporter. “She was right into politics and was a great friend of Lord Tweedsmuir - the SNP wasn’t around then.” The essay relates to a conversation between a brother and sister as he reads a newspaper article on ‘The Suffragists’. As he works his way through the article, his views become apparent. He berates the efforts of the “limmers of suffragists” claiming “weemans place is at hame” It reads: “They canna mak an men their men’s sarks, keep a clean fireside an have a vote. “Gie then an inch an they wid tak an ill (mile).” The essay goes on to say there a was a time when women were happy “tae tak the chance o’ the first man that socht them, an thankful tae leave the voting an the rulin o the nation tae him”. It was on February 6, 1918 that women aged over 30, those who owned property or had a university education were granted the right to vote through the Representation of the People Act. Mrs Durno is hoping to donate the essay to a museum which specialises in the Doric and would welcome suggestions as to who to contact.

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

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

Angus & The Mearns

Winners and runners-up on second day of Arbroath Musical Festival 2017

March 8 2017

The 85th annual Arbroath and District Musical Festival saw children from across Tayside compete in its second day on Tuesday. Competition centred on percussion and solo singing for boys and girls. The highest score of the music festival so far was recorded in the advanced snare drum category with Murray Bartle from Carnoustie High School achieving a mark of 94 in the afternoon. Ami Conchie won four classes — drum kit, snare, xylophone and timpani. Seven-year-old Aidan McFarlane of Carlogie Primary School, Carnoustie won the piano solo competition for under-9s. The competitive events continue until Friday, with a concert featuring festival winners and the In Harmony Ladies Choir, and the presentation of blue ribands to top performers from Tayside and the Mearns. The latest results were as follows: Class 105 timpani – 1 Ami Conchie, Carnoustie High School 86; 2 Catie Mathieson, Arbroath High School 85; 3 Corbie Smith, Arbroath High School 83. Class 106 drumkit – 1 Sam Ramsay, Webster’s High School 89; 2 Jessica Mannion, St John’s RC School 88; 3 Abaigh McMenaman, Arbroath High School 87. Class 107 snare drum intermediate – 1 Zoe McLachlan, Montrose Academy 89; 2 Ross McBride, Carnoustie High School 86; 3 Ryan Cull, Arbroath Academy 85. Class 67 piano solo 15-18 years – 1 Matthew Crabb, Brechin 90/91. Class 72 advanced instrumental recital open – 1 Lucy Crabb, Brechin 89/92. Class 71 advanced piano recital open – 1 Matthew Crabb, Brechin 93; 2= Matthew Coates, Banchory 92; 2= Ciaran Roberts-Osterberg, Grove Academy 92. Class 76 piano duet 10-14 – 1 Ailish Gracie/Anna Hunter, Broughty Ferry/Carnoustie 173; 2 Keira MacArthur/Zoe Sutherland, Broughty Ferry/Monifieth 172; 3 Hazel Will/Lois Green, Monifieth 171. Class 77 piano duet 14-18 – 1 Maria Clarke/Robyn Firth, Carnoustie 170. Class 79 piano trio under 10 – 1 Laura Martin/Alice Miller-Richardson/Niamh Perry, Monifieth/Monikie/Broughty Ferry 84. Class 80 piano trio 10-14 – 1 Keira MacArthur/Zoe Sutherland/Anna Hunter, Broughty Ferry/Monifieth/Carnoustie 87; 2 Anna Robertson/Amy Finnegan/Robbie McBean, Monifieth/Broughty Ferry 85; 3 Erin & Hannah Robinson/Maddie Fraser, Carnoustie/East Haven 84. Class 81 piano trio 14 and over – 1= Zac Brownlow/Andrew Wood/Michael Speid, Monifieth; Maria Clarke/Robyn Firth/Steffie Kidd, Carnoustie 85. Class 108 tuned percussion intermediate – 1 Callum Phillip, Arbroath Academy 87; 2 Sam Ramsay 86; 3 Bobbi Kerrigan, St John’s RC School 85. Class 109 timpani intermediate – 1 Sam Ramsay 89, 2 Ryan Cull 88, 3 Zoe McLachlan 87. Class 111 snare drum advanced – 1 Murray Bartle, Carnoustie High School 94; 2 Jack Reid, Arbroath High School 88; 3 James Sim, Brechin High School 87. Class 32 vocal solo boys 15-18 – 1 Blair Ruxton, Hillside 173. Class 26 junior soprano solo 15-18 – 1 Isabella Robb, Arbroath 175. Class 25 vocal solo girls 12-15 – 1 Catie Mathieson, Arbroath 173; 2 Charlotte Gray, Arbroath 170. Class 22 vocal solo girls under 10 – 1 Emily Lee Christie, Hillside 175. Class 60a vocal solo Disney songs under 10 – 1 Maisy Duncan, Hillside 86; 2 Zuzanna Kornas, Arbroath 84; 3 Julie Syska, Arbroath 83. Class 43 Burns songs under 18 – 1 Blair Ruxton, Hillside 174. Class 42 Scottish songs 15-18 – 1 Blair Ruxton 88. Class 41 Scottish songs 12-15 – 1 Catie Mathieson 89; 2 Megan Cant, High School of Dundee 88; 3 Charlotte Gray, Arbroath High School 87.   Class 102 drumkit – 1 Ami Conchie, Carnoustie High School 88, 2 Ciaran Kane, Carnoustie HS 87, 3=Euan Mannion, St John’s RC Dundee and Adam Thomson, Carnoustie HS 86. Class 62 piano solo under 9 years – 1 Aidan McFarlane, Carnoustie 174, 2= Carla Christie, Carnoustie and Ewan Findlay, Broughty Ferry 173.


Waid Academy bolsters The Courier’s ‘Can It’ campaign

September 29 2016

Staff and pupils at Waid Academy in Anstruther threw their weight behind The Courier’s ‘Can It’ campaign earlier this year and pledged on Wednesday to keep backing the initiative in the weeks ahead. Several Fife secondary schools are supporting The Courier’s drive to ban caffeine-based fizzy ‘energy’ drinks from school premises in a bid to improve the health and wellbeing of the region’s youngsters. Specially designed ‘Can It’ water bottles are being given out to the new S1 cohort at participating schools as a thank you for signing up. Teachers said they plan to hold assemblies in the coming weeks to reinforce the ‘Can It’ message. The school’s health and wellbeing group has been raising awareness of the potential effects of such drinks, while Waid’s student congress has aimed to increase the number of water fountains on school premises. A deal was struck with the school’s PPP partners for one to be installed in the sports hall before the summer break. Rector Iain Hughes said: “We currently do not sell carbonated drinks from any outlet in the school but there is still a task ahead to limit the number of these being brought onto school premises. “We strongly believe that for the significant health benefits to our learners that we have to break down the culture of drinking energy drinks.” Teacher Jacqui Smith-Mackay added: “Now that they have the bottles, we’ll have an assembly to explain to the pupils why they have got them and there will be a big drive from our Health and Wellbeing Group. “We have mooted it around the school and have some of The Courier’s articles and photos from earlier in the year, but it’s something we’re keen to get behind. “We’ve got the Co-op nearby, the pupils have got the pocket blazers, so you’ll see them try to come in with energy drinks every morning.” Other Fife schools backing the campaign include Kirkcaldy High, Bell Baxter High, Lochgelly High, Balwearie High, Glenrothes High, Queen Anne High, St Andrew’s RC High and Inverkeithing High. The campaign was also endorsed by Fife councillors earlier in the year.

Angus & The Mearns

Shortlist of stars revealed for 2016 Angus Sports Awards

February 3 2017

A glittering shortlist of contenders has been revealed for the 2016 AngusAlive Sports Awards 2016. After what the judging panel described as “an extremely difficult task”, a flood of almost 90 high-quality nominations has been whittled down to three contenders in each of the nine categories. Forfar’s Reid Hall will host the awards ceremony on Thursday March 9, when the successor to 2015 Sports Personality of the Year, bowler Ryan Burnett, and the category winners will be announced. In the running for the top gong are tennis sensation Jonny O’Mara, taekwondo star Catriona Steele and international triathlete Andrew Woodroffe. Arbroath’s Jonny and his doubles partner Scott Clayton concluded 2016 in epic style by clinching their eighth ITF title of the year and 10th career title. Edzell mum-of-four Catriona won two gold medals at the ITF Taekwondo World Cup in Budapest, overcoming the challenge of top fighters from Poland, New Zealand, Ireland and Canada. Triathlete Andrew, from Forfar, competed in the World Championships in Mexico where he finished second-fastest Brit in the sprint and third Brit in the Olympic race. The junior sports personality of the year award is set to be one of the most hotly-contested classes, with a trio of record-breaking youngsters in highly differing fields vying for glory. Carnoustie High School athlete Joel McFarlane smashed the Scottish Boys’ pentathlon record during his impressive year; Letham racing driver Sandy Mitchell became the youngest ever winner in the British GT Championship and Arbroath’s Sophie Smith swam her way to a string of titles at top competitions. In contention for the new Club of the Year honour are Arbroath Shotokan Karate Club, Brechin Beavers Swimming Club and Carnoustie Panmure Football Club. Shortlisted in the other award categories are: Coach of the Year:  Robert Christie – Lawn Bowls; Scott Haxton – Swimming; Garry Johnston – Powerchair Football. Team of the Year (sponsored by Angus Community Sports Hubs): Arbroath High School open girls basketball team; Links Park Community Trust – Montrose walking football team; Tayside Dynamos powerchair football team School Sport Volunteer of the Year (sponsored by Angus Active Schools and Radio Tay Cash for Kids): Caroline Kerr – dance; Chris Kettles – football; Kelvin Walling – basketball/rugby Sports Personality of the Year Award for People with a Disability (sponsored by National Oilwell Varco): Courtney Bernard – swimming; Greg Clark – football; Gemma Lumsdaine – wheelchair sports. Service to Sport Award: Rhona Alston – tennis; Philip Hope – football; Elinor Phillips – equestrian. Club Volunteer of the Year Award (sponsored by Special Olympics Scotland): Murray Dalgety – swimming; Lynda Sim – netball; Mary Towns – running.

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.

Angus & The Mearns

Arbroath Musical Festival week begins

March 7 2017

The 85th annual Arbroath Musical Festival got under way at the Webster Theatre in Arbroath on Monday. The competitive events continue until Friday, with a concert featuring festival winners and the In Harmony Ladies Choir, and the presentation of blue ribands to top performers from Angus, Dundee and the Mearns. The initial percussion and piano events saw Ami Conchie, Alice Gall, Aidan McFarlane, and the duet of Laura Martin and Alice Gall pick up wins, with Alice Gall earning a distinction. Ami Conchie won four classes — drum kit, snare, xylophone and timpani. Seven-year-old Aidan McFarlane of Carlogie Primary School, Carnoustie won the piano solo competition for under-9s. Young pianists played for adjudicator Gordon Yeaman of Falkland, a former principal teacher at Anderson High School in Shetland, and music advisor to the Islands Council.   Competition continued into the evening and the early winners are as follows: Class 102 drumkit – 1 Ami Conchie, Carnoustie High School 88, 2 Ciaran Kane, Carnoustie HS 87, 3=Euan Mannion, St John’s RC Dundee and Adam Thomson, Carnoustie HS 86. Class 103 snare drum – 1 Ami Conchie, Carnoustie HS 87; 2 Catie Mathieson 85, 3 Saul McGivney 84. Class 104 tuned percussion – 1 Ami Conchie 87, 2 Catie Mathieson 85, 3 Corbie Smith 84. Class 62 piano solo under 9 years – 1 Aidan McFarlane, Carnoustie 174, 2= Carla Christie, Carnoustie and Ewan Findlay, Broughty Ferry 173. Class 63 piano solo ages 9 to 11 years – 1 Alice Gall, Monifieth 180; 2 Joe Christie, Carnoustie 178; 3= Joe Barry, Inverbervie and Abbey Robertson, Monifieth 175. Class 75 piano duet under 10 years – 1 Laura Martin/Alice Gall, Monifieth 173; 2 Carla Christie/Alice Miller-Richardson, Carnoustie and Monikie 168.