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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...

Angus & The Mearns

Scottish Government accused of ‘failure to protect salmon stocks’ on South Esk

December 22 2011

An Angus angling club has lodged a legal complaint against the Scottish Government over its ''failure to protect salmon stocks.'' In an unprecedented move, Brechin Angling Club (Brechin AC), supported by the Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA), has submitted a formal complaint to the European Commission over the government's failure to protect salmon stocks in the River South Esk Special Area of Conservation (SAC). This follows the government's decision to extend the salmon netting season into September and reject proposed conservation measures to delay the start of the netting season for five years. The complaint, prepared by lawyer Guy Linley-Adams, cites numerous breaches by the Scottish Government in relation to the requirements of the EC Habitats Directive in protecting salmon in the South Esk not only in relation to spring salmon stocks but also later running fish that it says will be impacted by the ''unparalleled proposal by Scottish Government to extend netting into September.'' In addition, the complaint identifies the Scottish Government's general failure to ''establish appropriate management plans specifically designed for those SACs designated for Atlantic salmon to address the particular threat posed by mixed stock fisheries.'' Byron Pace, spokesman for Brechin AC, said: ''From our perspective, we could not, in all good conscience, sit on our hands, as the sustainable future of the South Esk came under this increased threat; to do so would have been irresponsible and unforgivable. ''Due to the Scottish Government's dismissal of the proposed conservation measures, we have been forced to take this to Europe, in the hope we can prevent the damaging effects of increased netting on an already fragile water course.'' The complaint has been filed in conjunction with the Salmon Trout Association and S&TA CEO Paul Knight said it views the case as an example of ''a national malaise.'' He said: ''It is indicative of a lamentable lack of political commitment to protect a wild natural resource in line with our international obligations.'' Mr Linley-Adams added: ''The Scottish Government has placed far too much emphasis on the interference in the property rights of the netsmen and not enough on its obligations to protect the South Esk SAC's spring salmon stocks. ''I believe the European Commission will follow long-established European, and indeed UK, law that has repeatedly confirmed that the private property rights of individuals are subject to the wider need to conserve species and habitats in the wider public interest.'' Unanimous dismay at the government's decision was expressed during a packed public meeting in Brechin in October attended by more than 100 people, including representatives of all major wild fish interests and local angling associations. A statement issued by the Esk District Salmon Fishery Board (DSFB) following the meeting prompted a furious response from a Montrose fishery business. The BAC claimed Usan Salmon Fisheries was being allowed by the government to ''kill even more fish'' as a reward for its co-operation with Marine Science Scotland's research programme. Usan director George Pullar said the firm was ''appalled by the negative content'' of the statement issued by the DSFB. He said: ''The age of the Highland clearances is over and the working man has a say we are here to stay.'' Mr Pullar said the current legal season runs from February 16 to August 31, while the angling season extends to October 31 which he described as ''a far longer period of exploitation than our own.'' He said the recently declared angling catches for 2010 were in excess of 110,000 salmon and grilse, the highest since records began in 1952. A Scottish government spokesman said: ''Ministers have asked Marine Scotland officials to discuss with the net fisheries in the River South Esk arrangements for accessing genetic samples and fish for tagging and release for tracking. "This is with a view to a possible licensed 'catch and retain' fishery from September 1-14 until 2012. Such a fishery would enable access to a reasonable sample of fish and genetic material throughout the commercial net fishing season to inform Marine Scotland Science's (MSS) statutory investigation of wild salmon and sea trout stocks. ''A number of points are being investigated regarding how this will operate. MSS have provided advice on potential conditions for a possible licensed September net fishery, including advice on the number of fish that might be taken. ''We are still considering that advice and will be consulting other advisers including SNH given the River South Esk's status as a SAC. ''Furthermore, ministers have decided that they will maintain the existing restriction on the net fishery so that the start of the net fishery will be put back from February 16 to May 1 2012, for a further period of three years. ''This delay in the start of the net fishery has been in place for seven years and provides a measure of protection for the early running salmon in the South Esk. This is additional to the annual close season and weekly close times which apply to all net fisheries for salmon.''

Perth & Kinross

Earn salmon anglers hit out at Environment Secretary in reclassification row

October 19 2017

The Environment Secretary has been slammed for a “weak” response to concerns raised over the reclassification of a Perthshire salmon-fishing river. Roseanna Cunningham defended Marine Scotland over the methodology used to categorise Scottish waters after angling clubs on the River Earn claimed it was “flawed”. Clubs along the Earn fear they will be forced to close after the river was dropped from a category two to a category three for the 2018 season, meaning a 100% catch and release policy will be enforced. The Earn was last placed in category three, the strictest of the three gradings, in 2016, but was reclassified to the more relaxed category two for 2017. Pat Silvey, of Comrie Angling Club, wrote to Ms Cunningham calling for a rethink on the issue, but has been left “angry” by her response. Ms Cunningham outlined the methods used to assess the rivers, adding that two additional fish counters had been added to the six already in use to monitor the number of fish returning to Scottish rivers. However Mr Silvey, a former maths and statistics teacher with a degree in mathematics from Cambridge, claims there is no “credible scientific justification” for the decision. He said: “She makes no attempt to answer my question about why Marine Scotland are not using a model based on the numbers of juvenile fish in the river, which is relatively easy to sample and estimate reliably, rather than relying on an egg deposition model. "Egg deposition is effectively unmeasurable, which forces them to rely on data on fish returning to the river, which are essentially unreliable. “She also has no real response to my questions about the unreliable nature of those data on returning fish, as catch returns are inherently unreliable, and do not record fish returning to rivers out the angling season, particularly in November and December. “They may have added two more fish counters, but that still leaves them with a small sample of eight rivers, selected because they have fish counters on them, rather than because they are a truly statistically representative sample of all river types in Scotland. “To extrapolate from a small unrepresentative sample like that is, frankly, ridiculous, and undermines fatally the validity of any conclusions reached. “I don't know what agenda is driving this system of categorisation but to misuse statistical techniques to further that agenda does nothing to enhance the credibility of the organisations involved.” A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Marine Scotland assesses the status of wild salmon stocks annually and we have recently consulted on river categories for the 2018 fishing season. “Marine Scotland uses all appropriate local data when provided by local managers which, in the case of the River Earn, is through liaison with the Tay District Salmon Fishery Board.”

Angus & The Mearns

Irene overjoyed by generous giving to Brechin Angel Tree appeal

December 14 2017

The branches of Brechin’s angel tree are once again heaving thanks to the festive generosity of locals. As the 2017 version of a tradition stretching back to the Cold War era of the former US Navy base at Edzell heads towards its collection conclusion, organiser Irene Gillies has said that the kindness of people from the town and surrounding area has once again surpassed all her expectations. The angel tree idea began when US servicemen stationed at Edzell decided they wanted to do something for families facing a tough time at Christmas, and they gathered presents to hand out  in the community. Former nurse Irene, whose charity work for a range of organisations has taken her to a number of countries across the globe and also includes collections of good for Syrian refugees, re-launched the  tradition in which a tree is ‘planted’ in Brechin cathedral for kind visitors to take a tag from and donate a gift for a deserving child. In recent years the annual response to the initiative has steadily grown, and with the deadline for handing in presents falling on Sunday, Irene said this year has again revealed the true spirit of the season. Almost 90 angels on the tree were plucked from its branches within days, leading to a steady stream of gifts being delivered to the Swan Street collection point, with many more gifts being added to the pile. “The generosity has been amazing and I can only thank people again for how kind they have been,” said Irene. “People that visited Tesco took 10 of the angels, and a £100 cheque was also handed in.” Irene said the appeal had also been given some bicycles and when they were taken to the local cycle shop to be checked over the owner donated a new child’s bike to the appeal. Fern, Careston and Menmuir Church is also a regular supporter of the cause and has once again donated a number of presents. “Everyone is so good at rallying round and the store is absolutely packed — we are so grateful.” The final day for handing in gifts is Sunday, after which the parcels will be readied for distribution to dozens of families in the lead up to Christmas by Irene and a dedicated small band of helpers.

Dundee United

Dundee United boosted by John Souttar return

October 16 2014

Dundee United have received a major boost with the return of John Souttar from injury. The 18-year-old has been sidelined since his ankle was damaged during the club’s pre-season trip to Holland but he finally made his long-awaited comeback on Tuesday night for the Development team in their 5-4 victory over Aberdeen at Brechin’s Glebe Park. Souttar played the entire 90 minutes, coming through unscathed, however Tangerines boss Jackie McNamara insists the teenager will not be rushed back into the first team and the club will proceed cautiously until he has made a full recovery. The manager said: “John is making good progress. It’s been hard for him as he’s had to go through a kind of mini pre-season. “Now he needs some games to get himself fully match-fit again because he’s been out for a while and that’s his first match. “We’re obviously not going to rush him but the good thing is that he’s on the road to recovery.” Meanwhile, United’s loan signing from Hull City, Conor Townsend, is back training at Tannadice after receiving treatment at the KC Stadium on a foot injury. The 21-year-old, who joined the Tangerines as part of the deal which took Scotland star Andrew Robertson to Steve Bruce’s Premier League outfit side in the summer, is now ready to step up his recovery although he will not be considered for Saturday’s game with Partick Thistle at Tannadice. McNamara added: “Conor is back training with us which is a boost because he had been doing well up until the injury.”


Match report: Brechin 1 Rangers XI 1

October 14 2010

Veteran Brechin midfielder Charlie King got a rousing ovation when he took to the Glebe Park pitch on crutches to greet the Rangers XI for his testimonial match. City's longest-serving player, who joined the club in 2001, is likely to be sidelined for the rest of the season after breaking his right ankle, but the side sent from Ibrox featuring a number of first-team players marked the respect with which he is held in Scottish football. City got off to a cracking start and opened the scoring in five minutes when Craig Molloy knocked the ball in after it took a deflection off the kneecap of a defender. Two minutes later Calum Booth had a chance to double their lead after a great solo run down the left flank but his sharp-angled drive was well stopped by the Rangers keeper Grant Adam. The visitors levelled on 16 minutes when Rory Loy headed home from a John Fleck corner. Five minutes later Rory McAllister was given an opportunity to restore the home side's lead when he took a free-kick from the edge of the box but another great save from Adam thwarted him. Just after the half-hour City keeper Craig Nelson prevented the visitors going ahead when he blocked a Ross Perry header from a Sarin Kerkar corner. Rangers fought hard for the winner in the second half but the City defence proved unbreachable. City came close to breaking the deadlock in the last 10 minutes when Gary Fusco's cracking shot from 25 yards hit the outside of the far post. Attendance619. BrechinNelson (Scott 46), McLean, Cook (White 46), McLauchlan (McKenna 46), Moyes (Johnson), Janczyk (Byres 46), Redman (Fotheringham), B Smith, McAllister (Millar 82), Molloy (Fusco 46), Booth (D Smith). Subs not usedDocherty. Rangers XIAdam, McMillan, Wylde: Perry, Webster, Stirling (Naismith 81), Campbell (Wiktorski), Hutton, Loy, Fleck, Kerkar (Dick 81). Subs not usedSmith, Little.

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

Angus & The Mearns

‘The age of the Highland clearances is over’ Usan Salmon Fisheries defends itself against Esk District Salmon Fishery Board criticism

November 1 2011

A Montrose fishery business has accused the Esk District Salmon Fishery Board (DSFB) and the angling lobby of ''blatant, shameful anti-netting propaganda.'' The furious response followed claims Usan Salmon Fisheries is being allowed by the Scottish Government to ''kill even more fish'' as a reward for its cooperation with Marine Science Scotland's research programme. The row broke out following the government's decision to extend the salmon netting season into September and reject proposed conservation measures to delay the start of the netting season for five years. Usan director George Pullar said the firm was ''appalled by the negative content'' of the statement issued by the DSFB. He said: ''We remain determined to defend our position and refuse to be bullied by those who would seek to have salmon retained for the enjoyment of sport angling rather than enjoyed by all sectors of society as a nutritious food source. ''The age of the Highland clearances is over and the working man has a say we are here to stay.'' He added: ''Our current legal season runs from February 16 to August 31, while the angling season extends to October 31 a far longer period of exploitation than our own. ''It is therefore most surprising that the board should choose to focus criticism on netting in this persecutory and inflammatory manner. ''Interestingly, the recently declared angling catches for 2010 were in excess of 110,000 salmon and grilse, the highest since records began in 1952. ''This therefore begs questions such as where is the shortage of fish and why should only anglers be allowed to catch them?'' Hugh Campbell Adamson, chairman of the DSFB, had earlier said unanimous dismay at the government's decision was expressed during a packed public meeting in Brechin attended by more than 100 people, including all major wild fish interests as well as local angling associations. He said: ''Despite the explicit support for controls in May from both Marine Scotland Science and Scottish Natural Heritage the government's advisers ministers are permitting netting in May. ''We are also perturbed by the Government's unilateral intention to allow netting in September without any discussions with the board, trust or other stakeholders.'' The board added that Usan Fisheries ''will be able net and kill spring salmon throughout May, many of which are destined for the South Esk, a special area of conservation for salmon.'' They also stated that South Esk is in breach of the European Commission's habitats directive, in that early-running salmon stocks continue to decline. The statement continued: ''The Scottish Government is also considering a licensed extension to the South Esk netting season to September 14 for three years from 2012 the statutory close date for netting is August 30. ''Fish killed during this period will represent payment to Usan Fisheries for allowing Marine Science Scotland access for tagging and releasing fish and taking genetic material for research purposes throughout the netting season and the extension.'' Bill Balfour, vice-president of Brechin Angling Club, said: ''It is anathema that the Government should propose that Usan Fisheries be allowed to kill even more fish as a reward for their cooperation with Marine Science Scotland's research programme. ''Anglers are constantly exhorted by Scottish Government to reduce exploitation through catch and release, and yet it is now actually sanctioning increased exploitation by the nets. This is hardly a consistent approach to conservation. ''Furthermore the proposed research would seem to be of dubious benefit and surely there are better ways of targeting £150,000 per annum.'' A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ''The Esk District Salmon Fishery Board have been advised of the ministers' decision on their applications and it would not be appropriate to comment further on the decision. ''In response to ministers' instructions Marine Scotland will be carrying out a scientific investigation of wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout stocks in the river South Esk and will liaise with the DSFB as local managers and other interested parties as that investigation goes forward.''

Scottish Championship

Brechin City boss hopes strike partnership will flourish

January 13 2018

Darren Dods is hoping that Brechin City will start to flourish with their new strike partnership. For the first time since August the Glebe Park boss was able to start Andy Jackson and Connor McLennan together against Morton last weekend. And Dods has been encouraged by what he saw. “Obviously, Jacko has taken his time to get back from injury and we used him off the bench for a few games,” he said. “Saturday was his first start and his link-up play was excellent. He got 70 minutes and will feel the benefit of that. “We’re hoping that Connor’s loan deal from Aberdeen will be extended because he’s scored a couple for us recently and has played well. “I think the only reason Derek (McInnes) would want him back would be if he was going to be involved with the first team. With the greatest respect to Connor, they’ve got a lot of options in that area. “We’d hoped this would be a good partnership for us at the start of the season and now we’re hoping the same again.” Today’s clash with Livingston will be Brechin’s last home game for a while. “It’s an opportunity for us,” said Dods. “We did well against Morton last weekend. Jacko was important for us and so was Callum Tapping. “It’s Celtic in the Scottish Cup next weekend and there’s no doubt about it – players do want to make sure they are in the starting line-up for that one.” It looks like Ryan McGeever may need an operation on his ankle. If that is confirmed it would probably rule him out for the season. Dods has a couple of January deals lined up but expects to have to wait until late in the window before they fall into place.

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.