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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...

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

Other sports

Perth Olympics-bound curlers start their season in Canada

September 1 2017

Team Smith will start their preparations for next year’s Winter Olympics at the venue where their successful push to become Britain’s curling representatives in PyeongChang began a year ago. The Perth rink, featuring Kyle and Cammy Smith and Thomas Muirhead, are part of a four-strong contingent of Scottish teams taking part in the Stu Sells Tankard in Ontario. It was there that they claimed the title – the Oakville OCT Fall Classic - that set up the 2016/17 campaign which culminated in Team GB selection. Skip Kyle believes the young rink are ready to take on the world’s best again. “We’re very excited to get going now after almost four weeks of great preparation in our new National Curling Academy back in Scotland, a facility that I strongly believe will help us be as well prepared as we can for the start of this Olympic season,” he said. “We are back to well-known territory with our first tournament of the year in Oakville where we had great success last year, so it was an easy decision to come back and we know it will be a quality tournament with potential to face numerous Olympic teams. “It's also a very good lead up to next week’s Grand Slam tournament in Regina. You're always eager to start a new season and I look forward to these three weeks in Canada.” While Team Smith has the same line-up as played throughout last season, they are accompanied by three new-look teams after a summer of re-shuffles. Dave Murdoch’s retirement has seen his third Greg Drummond step up to become skip with lead Michael Goodfellow remaining part of that team. They have been joined by Ross Paterson, who was formerly with Team Brewster, and Gregor Cannon. “The team have had a productive pre-season at the new NCA so are looking forward to the games that lie ahead and the new challenges that are upon us this season,” said Forfar’s Drummond. “Oakville is the first event of a three week stint in Canada for us as a team and is sure to provide a good test for us considering the quality teams that we will face.” Tom Brewster makes the trip with an entirely new line-up, joined by Scott Andrews - who was formerly part of Team Murdoch - as well as Duncan Menzies and Alasdair Schreiber, with his former lead Hammy McMillan having become part of a youthful quartet skipped by Bruce Mouat, who has Grant Hardie at third and Bobby Lammie at second. A fifth Scottish team skipped by Cameron Bryce, with Ross Whyte at third, Robin Brydone at second and Euan Kyle at lead, is also in action overseas this weekend, taking part in a Curling Champions Tour event in Estonia.

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.


New Year review: the top 10 Courier website stories of 2011

December 31 2011

As another year comes to an end, we take a look back at the most-read stories on www.thecourier.co.uk in 2011. Just as in 2010, this year's most-read stories feature a heady mix of the serious, the comical and the bizarre from around Courier Country. So let's dive in.1: 'This is June!' amazing video of freak hailstorm in DundeeWith getting on for double the views of any other story this year comes a piece which proves video of freak weather is a surefire online winner. When we started to hear about a heavy hailstorm in Dundee in mid-summer, we asked our Facebook followers to share their photos. Then came this unforgettable video with its wonderful "This is June!" narration. Watched by expats across the world, it gave them a warm, fuzzy feeling about the old country as it reminded them exactly why they got out of here in the first place. 2: VIDEO: Demolition of the Alexander Street Hilltown multis in DundeeIn second place, it's another Dundee video story. The city comes to a virtual standstill to witness the demolition of the landmark Alexander Street multis in late July. 3: Zombie planning undead hordes no threat to Dundee City CouncilIt was the question everyone wanted answered and, thankfully, Lee McAulay stepped up to ask it just how well prepared was Dundee City Council for a zombie invasion? Lee's FOI request, and the council's amusing response, was the third most-read article this year. 4: City centre closed down to contain Slask Wroclaw fan troubleDundee United's appearance in the Europa League qualifiers brought a thrilling night of European football to Tannadice in July. Less welcome was the behaviour of some of the visiting Slask Wroclaw fans, and news of their rampage through the city before and after the match was the fourth most-read story this year. 5: Perthshire minister suffers cuts in bizarre sea eagle attackThe Hunter was hunted in August and you clicked in your thousands when we brought you the somewhat unusual news of the Very Rev Hunter Farquharson being attacked by a sea eagle. It would be wrong to we're hoping for it, but if 2012 throws up any more examples of men of the cloth being attacked by God's creations we'll be there to report. It's our duty. 6: Fifteen children by 13 mothers Dundee man Jamie Cumming dubbed Britain's most shameless fatherHe graced news outlets across the world as word of his one-man mission to boost Scotland's population was revealed. At No. 6 is the tale of Dundee dad-of-15* Jamie Cumming. 7: Professor Bernard King suspended from Abertay University postIt's on to matters more serious next as the suspension in January of its principal, Professor Bernard King, sparks the start of a tumultuous year for Abertay University. Later came the prospect of a forced merger with Dundee University a threat soon defeated thanks to a campaign led by The Courier. 8: A bit of fun, but risks of planking craze should not be taken lying downWho remembers planking? News of perhaps the most short-lived internet craze of the year was the eighth most-read article in 2011. 9: VIDEO: Bell Baxter High School flash mob is top of the classBell Baxter High School in Cupar was behind one of the feelgood videos of the year in May when footage of its YMCA-themed flash mob hit YouTube. Hats off to the teachers and pupils, who showed school really can be the best days of our lives. 10: Dunfermline FC mascot's 'disgraceful' pre-match anticsRounding off the top 10 is Scotland's most OUTRAGEOUS football mascot, Dunfermline Athletic's Sammy the Tammy. Raith Rovers fans or some of them struggled to see the funny side of Sammy's tank routine ahead of a crucial derby in April. We're pleased to confirm peace has since broken out between Fife's finest.We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to use our site this year, especially those who get involved by leaving comments, sending us photos and following us on Facebook and our various Twitter feeds. The Courier will be publishing as normal on Monday January 2. There's an exciting year ahead for The Courier in 2012. See you then! (*at last count)

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.

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.


Sammy the Tammy slides into trouble

March 10 2010

Dunfermline FC's Sammy the Tammy has been given a slap on the wrist for taking sledging to a new level. The madcap mascot slid down a flight of stairs in the Norrie McCathie stand at East End Park a fortnight ago. It proved to be the highlight of an otherwise dull day as Ayr United beat Dunfermline 1-0. He has now become something of an internet legend and supporters have been discussing his exploits since the match. Photographs of Sammy have been posted on fans' websites but sadly there is no video footage (so far) of the escapade. One eyewitness told The Courier yesterday, "Sammy has pulled some stunts in his time but that was just unbelievable. "I heard the announcer warning him not to do it. "I didn't realise what was going on until he set off. "I just saw this blur out of the corner of my eye and turned round in time to see him crash to a halt about two-thirds of the way down. "I just about died laughing at the time but I can see why the club were upset. "Somebody could have been seriously hurt if he had hit them." The mascot likes to make his pre-match routines topical and he is believed to have been paying tribute to Amy Williams who won gold for Great Britain in the skeleton bob at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Sammy used a plastic sledge in his bid for glory, but the steep concrete steps proved too much and he veered off to the left and crashed into the seating. His efforts earned him a roar of approval from the crowd and he managed to limp away from the scene of the crash. However, the stunt landed him in hot water with the club, although officials have stopped short of showing him the red card. YOUTUBE: SAMMY THE TAMMY There were fears that he had been given the boot, or seriously hurt himself in the accident, when he failed to show up for the Airdrie United game on Saturday. But a club spokesman assured fans "normal" service would be resumed for this Saturday's home tie against Queen of the South. "It has caused quite a stir," he said. "We have had quite a few calls about it, to say the least. "He's been given a wee bit of a slap on the wrist but nothing more has been made of it. "Let's just say he'll not do it again. I dare say he gave himself a bit of a sore one. "He said he was fine, but he was limping afterwards." As for Sammy's absence from East End Park at the weekend, the spokesman added, "Unfortunately, he couldn't get away from work in time."If you have footage of Sammy's daredevil stunt, or have seen it online, please get in touch.


Sammy the Tammy condemned by his local MP

April 26 2011

Dunfermline and West Fife MP Thomas Docherty has condemned the actions of Dunfermline Athletic's mascot Sammy the Tammy prior to the weekend local derby with fierce rivals Raith Rovers, describing them as "unnecessary." The mascot has faced stern criticism for his pre-match stunt where he faced the opposing support in a cardboard "tank" complete with accompanying "gun" noises from the stadium's PA system. Fife Constabulary have said they are to take up the matter with the Pars and the individual. The Courier understands that "Sammy" will be questioned by officers today about his antics, which were labelled "disgraceful" by Raith Rovers Football Supporters Club chairman Gordon Adamson. Mr Docherty a regular at East End Park said he had accompanied the police on the day of the match to gain an insight into how they work on such an important sporting occasion. He was quick to point out that he didn't approve of the behaviour of Sammy the Tammy. "I saw what he did and know that the Raith support didn't see the funny side of it. I think it was unnecessary," he said. "In the context of everything else it wasn't particularly clever. "I have spoken to the Dunfermline directors and have been reassured that no one knew in advance of what Sammy was planning. "It's good banter and I applauded as he left the park. Good support from Raith, amazing numbers from the Pars and is what Saturdays should be all about. "Sammy is the same every week with his antics and people should have been expecting it." However, one disgruntled Pars supporter said, "Sorry but I am going against the majority on this as it was not funny in the slightest and the guy and whoever played the accompanying sound effects should be facing police charges. "How anyone can sit before a game and think up this kind of routine when the country's young men and women are putting their lives on the line in war zones is beyond me. "Just the other week the town of Kirkcaldy buried a young Lance Corporal-how would any of his family or friends feel watching that? "Sometimes, and I mean only sometimes, he is funny but yesterday he stepped over the mark and the club, as should all clubs, should be monitoring before games what their mascots intend to do on the football park." A spokesman for the club said, "Dunfermline Athletic FC would like to apologise to any supporters at the match on Saturday who were offended by our mascot Sammy the Tammy. "The club are disappointed with the content of Sammy's programme and will be dealing with the matter internally."