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...
A huge, complicated operation to carry out a post-mortem on and bury a 45ft sperm whale which washed up on the banks of the River Tay got under way yesterday. Sea life experts, animal rescue teams and contractors arrived on the beach of the Barry Buddon firing range at 10am on Friday morning - just two days after the massive mammal washed up dead on the shore. Facing a race against time before high tide, samples were taken and a post-mortem was started on the whale by Dr Andrew Brownlow, head of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme (SMASS). Contractors from Cupar-based FTM Plant Hire had brought diggers armed with swing-shovels to the beach to roll the sea creature from its location on a rocky section of the shore to the sands further inland. The firm was expected to move the animal during low tide last night and to proceed with burying it this morning. Workers had attempted to roll the animal inshore on Friday afternoon but only managed to move it about 66ft before deciding that a bigger machine was required for the task. The operation was given the go-ahead following consultation between Angus Council and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa). The beach at Barry Buddon is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and an EU Special Area of Conservation (SAC). Dr Brownlow said the samples gathered during yesterday's examination of the whale would help them determine the cause of the its death, adding that disposing of the whale at the Angus beach is a “very difficult” task. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/angus-mearns/624142/video-how-did-45ft-sperm-whale-which-washed-up-near-monifieth-die/ He was helped by a number of students from St Andrews' Sea Mammal Research Unit and fellow marine rescuers. The post-mortem will be concluded today, should the whale be successfully shifted. Dr Brownlow said there doesn't appear to be evidence of "human interaction" in the mammal's death and added that some of the wounds could have been sustained during a fight with another male. He added: "It probably weighs in excess of 35 tonnes. And doing a post-mortem on it is going to be quite a challenge, there is no two ways about it. "We try to work out what happened, why is it this animal has come here. "We have not managed to finish it (the post-mortem) today. These whales are incredibly difficult to shift. "We know quite a lot already. It doesn't seem to have any evidence of any direct human interaction. So there is no evidence of an entanglement, there is no evidence that it has been some ship strike. "Interestingly if you look at the head end of it there are some bits that do look like its been fighting with other males - what I think looked like teeth marks on its rostral. "So we're kind of piecing this all together to try and learn what happened." He added that the whale may have taken a wrong turn on its way from feeding around Norway, Orkney and Shetland to equatorial waters, but ended up in the North Sea - an environment which is difficult for the species to navigate. A Sepa spokesman said: "Given the location of the whale and the area’s various environmental designations, such as a special area of conservation (SAC), Sepa has advised the local authority that a number of partner organisations should be consulted, including the Scottish Natural Heritage and Ministry of Defence, prior to a final decision on disposal. "While the whale does not pose any immediate risk to the environment, Sepa officers will continue to monitor the situation and work with the local authority to find a suitable disposal option." Angus Council said arrangements had been made for the safe disposal of the carcass.
Dead cows have been discovered on the army training range at Barry Buddon near Carnoustie. The carcasses were found in the big wood area of the Barry range, a popular route for dog walkers. An army spokeswoman confirmed they had been made aware of the complaint and officials contacted the farmer who grazes cattle on the land. She said the farmer was in the process of identifying the cause of death to the cattle, but stressed the animals were not injured in any military training exercise on the ranges. A spokeswoman for Angus Council said, "On February 25 we were advised by a member of the public that there were cattle carcasses at Barry Buddon. "We notified the farmer who uplifted carcasses within the following few days. "On March 18, the farmer found a further three carcasses which were in long grass and ditches and had been missed in the previous clearing. "A further two carcasses are being removed this week. "The Barry Buddon area covers some 3000 acres of sand dunes, ditches, woodland and scrub and it can prove difficult to find fallen stock." Barry Buddon training area covers 930 hectares of coastal plain on the Tay Estuary between Carnoustie and Monifieth. Certain sections of the area are open to the public outwith periods of live firing.
A number of “local heroes” from Angus will be called on to carry the Commonwealth Games baton next year. Up to 4,000 people will be needed to carry the baton on its 40-day journey through Scotland ahead of the XX Commonwealth Games. And a message has been sent out to Angus residents to represent their areas in a landmark year for Scotland. The first Queen’s Baton Relay was staged for the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff and has been the curtain raiser to the games ever since. The Scotland route will require approximately 4,000 baton bearers in total and an average of approximately 100 people will carry the baton on a daily basis. Angus steering group chairwoman Jeanette Gaul spoke of a “once in a lifetime opportunity” to take part in the games. “We all know local heroes who work tirelessly and often with little recognition,” she said. “Now is your chance to nominate these inspirational people from all across Angus. I would like to encourage as many people as possible to nominate their local champion.” The call follows a meeting to discuss how Carnoustie could capitalise on the shooting events to take place at Barry Buddon. A total of 22 representatives from Carnoustie community groups and organisations met in the Panmure Centre to start planning how the town could prepare for the expected influx of visitors and competitors to see the shooting events being held at Barry Buddon’s firing ranges next year. It is expected around 500 athletes, plus support staff, will compete at the events, which will run from June 25-29 and could attract around 2,500 visitors per day. Groups represented included the Golf Links Management Committee, Angus Council, Carnoustie Community Council, Carnoustie Development Group, Carnoustie Gala Committee, Carnoustie High School and town councillors. Ideas included making use of a site in the middle of town earmarked for development by the Carnoustie Centre Action Group. Other ideas included staging a beer and music festival, a funfair, expanding tourist information services, a flag parade and other ideas the local community planning team will present later. People have until November 22 to nominate their own local champions. Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said: “It could be a sports coach, a young athlete, a volunteer worker, an inspirational teacher, someone who has achieved remarkable things against the odds. “Nominating baton bearers is your way of thanking those inspirational people in your area.” Some of the first participants in the Queen’s Baton Relay at Buckingham Palace backed the appeal. Julie McElroy, who has tried out all 17 of the Commonwealth sports, said: “It was such a privilege to be carrying the baton alongside Sir Chris Hoy and Alan Wells. It felt like a dream being there.” Visit www.glasgow2014.com to make nominations.
‘Everyone did an incredible job’ — autopsy carried out on beached sperm whale in Tayside could be world first
An autopsy carried out on a 45-foot sperm whale beached in Tayside could be a world-first, a researcher involved in the effort has claimed. The infant whale, which was found dead on Barry Buddon beach near Monifieth on Thursday night, was examined by experts on Friday and Saturday before being buried under a large mound of sand. Due to the incredible skill of digger operators from Cupar-based FTM Plant Hire, a brain sample was taken from the huge mammal before it reached decomposition. According to Dr Andrew Brownlow, head of the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme, this may never have been done before following the death of a beached whale and may lead to greater understanding of the fascinating creatures. https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/angus-mearns/624142/video-how-did-45ft-sperm-whale-which-washed-up-near-monifieth-die/ He said: "I have been doing this for 10 years and have never seen this. "It's more than likely it has not been done before this quickly anywhere in the world. "It may have an impact on future research worldwide. It's so very rare to manage to do this. "The digger operator, Martin Smith, used the shovel of the digger with the precision of a scalpel to crack open its skull in the exact location we needed." https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/local/angus-mearns/624009/video-watch-as-complex-operation-to-probe-death-of-and-bury-tay-sperm-whale-gets-under-way/ Dr Brownlow was joined by a number of students from the St Andrews Sea Mammal Research Unit and fellow marine rescuer volunteers. It is hoped the autopsy will allow experts to understand how the whale came to be stranded on the beach, which is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest and an EU Special Area of Conservation. He added: "It's just amazing to gain greater insight into these incredible animals. "They decompose ridiculously quickly and the whale was already falling apart on Saturday. "A post-mortem on a sperm whale is just so difficult logistically. The head is massive. "We will be able to rule out a few possible reasons for its beaching from this sample. "It can now be analysed for any possible issues in its brain function which could have caused it to navigate off course. "I want to thank everyone involved in the effort. Everyone did such an incredible job."
Two new holes, created at a cost of £500,000, have been opened at the Buddon Links golf course in Carnoustie. Angus Provost Helen Oswald officially opened the new holes alongside Carnoustie Golf Links Management Committee chairwoman Pat Sawers and head greenkeeper Steve Mitchell. The Courier joined Steve Mitchell on the course as he played the new layout and outlined the challenges golfers will face. The new holes, combined with other adjustments on the course, have increased the Buddon’s length by more than 600 yards. The course was designed by Peter Alliss and David Thomas and opened in 1979. A variety of changes in the past 25 years has seen the course yardage reduce from 6,600 to 5,420 and its par drop from 71 to 66. The £2 million golf centre, which opened last year, resulted in the first hole becoming a par three, making a total of eight par threes on the course. This amount of par threes was considered too many and contributed to a total length that was thought to be insufficient for modern golf. The course redesign has seen the first hole dropped, holes nine and 10 merged and hole 12 extended. The changes, combined with the two new par fours, now make the new course length 6,088 yards. Carnoustie Golf Links general manager Graeme Duncan said: “We are delighted that after three years this major development of the Buddon Links has now been completed. “We believe this development will provide the golfers of Carnoustie with three challenging courses and continues the transformation of these links from the original course of 1979. “I’m confident both local and visiting golfers will enjoy the improved layout.” The old first hole will be transformed into a six-hole junior course. The old first green will remain for people to practise their chipping and putting. Ms Sawers said the improved Buddon Links course would help relieve waiting lists at the Burnside course. “The waiting list for a three-course ticket is still lengthy, so CGLMC hope the extension to the Buddon will now satisfy any golfer, whatever his or her handicap may be.” Helen Oswald praised the development and said the investment could see an increase in tourists to the area. She said: “I was very impressed with what I saw and I congratulate the head greenkeeper and his staff for doing a great job. “It’s been a substantial investment so that’s good for the local economy and the changes are sure to attract golfers far and wide. “It’s great to see a job very well done.”
Volunteers from Angus and Dundee bagged a successful beach clean at the weekend, removing at least a ton of rubbish from the Barry Buddon and Monifieth area. The area is a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the abundance of wildlife, particularly migrating and nesting birds. However, its location on the Tay Estuary means a lot of waste, including substantial amounts of plastic, is washed up on the beach from the sea. It is estimated that globally, every year about eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the oceans, with projections suggesting that in 2025, the annual input is estimated to be about twice that. The event was a joint project run by Monifieth Rotary and the town’s environmental group Eco Force, and is supported by the MoD. Monifieth Eco Force is an organisation which leads on a wide range of environmental improvement and conservation activities throughout the town and surrounding areas. These include monthly beach cleans, developing a community orchard and wildflower meadow, tree planting on the Dighty Burn greenspace, and producing floral displays in the town centre, as well as at the Blue Seaway garden. Derek Uchman, of Monifieth Rotary and the town’s Eco Force, said: “Despite the drizzly start to the day, we had a brilliant turnout. “Close to 40 people were there, including folk from Dundee, Carnoustie and, of course, Monifieth. “It was a real community effort, with help from the MoD at Barry Buddon, who provided a trailer for the rubbish, Dundee Airport, who supplied a tractor, and even cakes and goodies donated by Greggs. “We blitzed a mile section of beach, which is a hotspot for litter washed up from the estuary. “We removed all sorts of rubbish including a gas canister, a child’s car, a fire extinguisher and syringes. But mostly, it was single-use plastic bottles — there were hundreds of them collected. “The good news is that thanks to the large number of volunteers, the beach now looks fantastic, and we must have cleared at least a ton of rubbish. “Of course, over the coming months, there will be more waste washed up, and we intend to return in October.”
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
The starting gun has been fired for construction work at the Tayside venue for shooting events at next year’s Commonwealth Games. Barry Buddon, by Carnoustie, will host all elements of the shooting competition at the games. Work has started to transform the 2,600 acre Ministry of Defence (MoD) range from an infantry training area into a sporting venue. The work is being carried out in conjunction with the Defence Infrastructure Organisation and the Glasgow 2014 Organising Committee. Glasgow 2014 chief executive David Grevemberg said: “We are pleased to have concluded negotiations for the use of Barry Buddon and are grateful to the Ministry of Defence for their support of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. “Barry Buddon will be a world-class venue for the shooting competition at the games and represents an opportunity for those outside of Glasgow to be part of the celebrations.”
Angus Provost Helen Oswald spoke of how proud she was of the area as the curtain closed on Barry Buddon’s involvement with the Commonwealth Games. The MoD base by Carnoustie has welcomed hundreds of visitors from around the world as it hosted the shooting competitions for the past five days. Mrs Oswald capped a memorable games by presenting the medals for the women’s 10m air pistol category on Tuesday. Afterwards she said: “I’m very proud of how Angus has presented itself and of the Angus Council staff who have worked their socks off to get things right with Glasgow 2014. “The volunteers have also done a great job overall I think everything has gone extremely well. “Carnoustie has rallied, the place looks fantastic. Having the games has been a real boost for the town. “There’s been a buzz at Barry Buddon and, replicating what we see in Glasgow, everybody’s smiling.” Although the economic benefits from the area holding the games aren’t yet known, Mrs Oswald said she hoped that the many international visitors had taken advantage of visiting other towns and attractions in Angus. National tourism body VisitScotland said the worldwide exposure would have a continued economic benefit for Angus and the rest of Scotland. For more on this story see The Courier or try our digital edition.