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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...


Woman battered lover with baseball bat in Lochee Park

April 27 2018

A woman who battered her female partner with a baseball bat days after catching her in bed with a man yesterday avoided jail. Marnie Drumm caught lover Brogan Paterson - with whom she had been in a relationship since they were 15 - having sex with a man. The pair fell out but Miss Paterson repeatedly contacted Drumm in a bid to patch things up. Three days later they met in Dundee’s Lochee Park to walk their dog, only for the meet up to descend into an argument and violence. Fiscal depute Charmaine Gilmartin told the court the complainer had been friends with Drumm for years and they had even lived together until a few weeks before the incident. They had gone out on the day in question for a walk with Drumm’s dog when an argument broke out between them. Mrs Gilmartin said: “That escalated in to a scuffle that quickly ended. “The complainer chased the accused towards the accused’s car. Once at the car the accuser retrieved a short baseball bat and began swinging it at the complainer. “The struck her three times and the complainer felt immediate sharp pain and screamed. A dog walker heard the shouting and another onlooker ran towards them. “The accused was seen swinging the bat hard downwards towards her head and body. The accused then got in the car and drove away. “She was taken to hospital later and found to have a fractured left elbow and hairline fractures to the end of the adjacent bones. She underwent surgery to reset them with wires, plates and pins. “Around 5pm on May 29 the accused burst in to the ward demanding the complainer leave to speak to her. She was asked to leave by the nurses. “On June 2 the complainer disclosed what had happened to her grandmother and the police were contacted.” Drumm, 22, of Thurso Crescent, Dundee, pleaded guilty on indictment to attacking her former partner Brogan Paterson on May 28 last year in Lochee Park, Dundee. Defence solicitor Anne Duffy said: “They had been in a relationship from a very early age. “The accused caught her partner and a man engaging in sexual intercourse three days prior to the offence. “At that her world fell apart and she struggled to come to terms with it. “They met that day with the accused hoping to resume her relationship with the complainer but things regressed and Miss Drumm picked up this bat. “It was a bat she kept in her car with a ball for hitting the ball for the dogs to chase.” Sheriff Alastair Brown imposed a community payback order with 200 hours unpaid work and two years’ supervision. He said: “You inflicted a nasty injury with a weapon. “But having regard to all the circumstances and because I don’t think you are likely to pick up a weapon and use it on someone ever again I will step away from custody.”

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

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.

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

Perth & Kinross

Bloody feud relived at Clan MacThomas gathering

August 28 2017

One of the last known feuds between two Scottish clans was brought to life in dramatic style at a Highland Perthshire gathering on Sunday. Around 150 members of Clan MacThomas assembled for a show of strength at Clach na Coileach – known as the Cockstane - near Glenshee. They travelled from as far afield as Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Norway and America, as well as parts of the UK. Fresh from an appearance at the Edinburgh Tattoo last week, the clan got together for a weekend of events including a tour of clan territory, genealogy research and a special feast in Pitlochry hosted by 19th chief Andrew MacThomas of Finegand. The gatherings are held every three years. There was also a spectacular re-enactment of one of the clan’s darkest chapters, a 1673 clash with the Farquharsons. The feud is one of the last recorded clan clashes in Scottish history. The families fought over disputed grazing rights in upper Glenisla. Farquharson of Broughdearg was killed in the skirmish, as was two sons of chief Iain Mor MacThomas. The lawsuits that followed the battle crippled the head of the MacThomas clan and when he died three years later, his remaining sons were forced to sell up the family land. Afterwards, the clan began to drift apart. Re-enactments were performed by members of the Earl of Loudon’s Regiment of Foote under the direction of their commanding officer Rab Taylor. Mary Grundberg, the clan’s European secretary, said: “The gathering is always a memorable get together with clansfolk coming from all over the world. This year is extra special with the opportunity of taking part in the world-famous Edinburgh Military Tattoo.” According to the society’s research Tomaidh Mor “Great Tommy”, from whom the clan takes its name, lived in the 15th Century in Glenshee. The seventh chief extended the clan’s land into glens Begg, Prosen and 
Strathardle and he purchased the Barony of Forter in Glenisla.

Perth & Kinross

Visitors to Scone Palace taken back 700 years to time of the Bruce

August 29 2016

History was brought to life in the grounds of Scone Palace with a recreation of a royal coronation which took place at the palace more than 700 years ago. The Strathleven Artizans, a Scottish historical group who celebrate historical links to King Robert the Bruce, led a day of royal activities on Sunday including reenactments of him being crowned king of Scotland, mirroring the events of 1306. As part of the day a hand crafted replica of King Robert the Bruce’s throne, which was created by the Strathleven Artizans, in partnership with Historic Scotland, to mark the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn and celebrate King Robert’s identity and vision for Scotland, was brought to Scone. Click here for full photo gallery The throne was constructed using timber from across Scotland including pieces from Scone Palace. Dressed in traditional costumes and chain mail, the historical group demonstrated the weaponry used by King Robert the Bruce and his men centuries ago and visitors joined in the fun too, with costumes for both children and adults to try on. The reenactments of King Robert the Bruce being crowned and dramatic battle reenactments entertained the visitors while Clann An Drumma, one of Scotland's most popular tribal bands, performed atmospheric drum-based music throughout the afternoon. British axe-throwing champions were also in attendance, demonstrating their unusual sport for spectators to enjoy. There was also a special creative workshop for children to decorate their toy swords, inspired by the weaponry used by King Robert the Bruce. Heather McArthur of  Scone Palace  said: "We are delighted to welcome the Strathleven Artizans back to Scone Palace to help us create a wonderful afternoon of events to celebrate King Robert the Bruce and his historical connections to the area. “It is also fantastic to exhibit the incredible hand crafted throne which I'm sure visitors enjoyed admiring."

Perth & Kinross

Game Fair hopes to draw record crowds to Scone Palace

July 2 2011

The organisers of the Scottish Game Fair are hoping to attract record crowds this weekend to Scone Palace, with the overall attendance of the three-day event set to top last year's figure of 33,000. With good weather forecast, thousands of people are expected to visit the event, which has a host of activities and more than 300 trade stands. The Game Fair also provides a welcome boost to the Perthshire economy with hotels, bed and breakfast accommodation and restaurants busy over its three-day duration. It is understood that the event injects around £1 million into the area's economy. The attractions will include the Clann an Drumma tribal pipe and drum band, falconry, Fife foxhounds, dancing displays, Tug o' War, a sheep show, a renewable energy court and people will be able to try archery, clay pigeon shooting and a climbing wall. In addition, there will be an educational marque, food hall, dog demonstrations, sheep racing, fishing competitions and an aerobatic display. On Friday, crowds flocked to the Game Fair with many enjoying a drink or an ice cream, with a large proportion of the attendance bringing their pet dog. The Cairngorm Reindeer Herd was one of the main attractions. Katrina Candy, head of public relations in Scotland for organisers, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, said she hoped this year's event is a record breaker. "Last year we had a total of 33,000 for the three days, so it would be fantastic if we exceed that. Already there are lots of people coming through our doors enjoying themselves."

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.


Shot putter ready to throw himself into World Highland Games Championships

August 23 2014

South African Burger Lambrechts visited Dunfermline in advance of competing in the World Highland Games Championship that will be taking place in Pittencrieff Park. Six-foot-eight Burger, who won the African Championships in Benin in 2012, will be joining many other competitors from around the world in this prestigious event, that will also feature athletes fresh from competing in this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Starting at noon and lasting till 5pm each day, there will be a full programme of events on offer and entry is free of charge. The male athletes will be taking part in 10 disciplines each day and the Ladies Highlander Championships will consist of four events over the weekend featuring the best athletes from around Europe. The overall winners will be crowned at the culmination of the proceedings on Sunday afternoon. There will be children’s Highland Games events, haggis hurling open to the public to join in, a ladies’ welly-throwing competition, highland dancing demonstrations in the main arena, the Donald Dinnie Stonelifting Championships and performances from Clann An Drumma Scotland’s premier tribal bagpipers. On Sunday, in the Glen Pavilion, more than 150 dancers from across the globe will compete in the Andrew Carnegie Anniversary Dancing Competition, in a vibrant display of a much-admired Scottish tradition, for which there will be an entry charge of £3 for adults and £2 concession. Supported by Event Scotland, Carnegie Dunfermline Trust and Fife Council Strategic Events Investment Programme, it has also received financial support from Dunfermline First, as part of its aim to bring events to Dunfermline. Chairwoman of Dunfermline Area Committee, Helen Law, who will be opening the event at noon on Saturday, is delighted to see it come to the area. She said: “Pittencrieff Park is a wonderful location for an event of this stature and we are looking forward to welcoming people from far and wide to experience it. “Dunfermline is widely regarded as the home of Scottish Highland Games, as Dunfermline’s King Malcolm Canmore is credited with using competitive activities to find the strongest man in his kingdom. So, it’s fitting to stage this event in the park which includes his ancient tower.”