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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

Safety fears forced salmon fishing regulation breaches, court told

April 23 2015

Salmon fishing regulation breaches on the Angus and Aberdeenshire coasts were caused by safety fears, according to a fisheries boss. Usan Salmon Fisheries director George Pullar appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court and said his crews undertook great risks to comply with regulations, which ban fisheries from keeping “leader” nets at sea over weekends. Mr Pullar admitted the firm failed to bring nets in on a number of occasions, but told Sheriff Pino di Emidio that crews returned home because of rough seas. The 45-year-old said he and his co-director brother, David, run a business, the last of its kind on the east coast of Scotland, which he described as “a labour of love”. The firm previously admitted charges of fishing outwith weekly limits near Montrose in August 2013 and Gardenstown in August 2014. During a proof in mitigation, solicitor Hamish Watt brought a number of witnesses for the firm. George Pullar said he and his skippers were forced to stay home over the course of several weekends due to rough seas or bad forecasts, leaving the nets in place. “When you’re working at sea, you don’t get second chances,” he said. Witness Alan Third, 55, confirmed he had broken down on August 9 2013 off the Montrose coast, and was towed back by Mr Pullar, who himself broke down en route to remove leaders at Ethie Haven. Mr Pullar’s nephew Kevin Pullar, 22, said he was constantly mindful of forecasts and had responsibility as skipper for leaving leaders in over the weekends in question. Mr Watt produced two DVDs Kevin Pullar had taken, showing “swell” and rough sea conditions, which caused the skipper to return to shore instead of removing leader nets. The proof will continue on July 9, after which Sheriff Di Emidio will deliver sentence.


Freuchie milkman David Pullar

July 9 2013

David Pullar, who delivered milk to generations of residents in north-east Fife, has died aged 96. As a boy, Mr Pullar grew up on the family dairy farm in Freuchie and was given a lift to Freuchie School on his father’s horse-drawn milk float. At his funeral, as a fitting tribute, his coffin was taken to Falkland Cemetery on a dray pulled by the Balmalcolm Clydesdales. After working for the sugar beet factory in Cupar, he went on to serve in the army, joining the 51st Highland Division Recce Corps. On being demobbed he got back to work immediately, starting delivering milk the next day. He sold milk in the Freuchie area for the next 35 years. During the 1950s the traditional horse-drawn float was replaced with a motor vehicle. His working day involved juggling delivering milk in the mornings and working on the farm into the evening. Mr Pullar met his wife-to-be Mary, from Star of Markinch, at a village dance. Outside work, he was a keen golfer at Falkland Golf Club and in previous years also enjoyed curling. Mr Pullar, who was predeceased by his wife, is survived by his sons David and Archie, five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.


Detectives continue hunt for Dundee sex attackers

September 11 2013

Detectives have been poring over CCTV footage in an attempt to establish the identity of two men who sexually assaulted a woman in the city centre on Sunday morning. The 20-year-old woman was left extemely distressed by the assault, which happened shortly after midnight on Saturday into Sunday in Pullar’s Close, off Meadowside. Police are concentrating their efforts on the area around Pullar’s Close, Murraygate and Cowgate, specifically in respect of pub and nightclub patrons who would have been in the area at the time. A spokesman said: “We have spoken to a number of people so far, but we are asking any revellers who were in nearby nightclubs or pubs, or were walking in the area around the time to get in touch with us as any information could prove crucial in our attempts to identify those men.” They are described as being in their early twenties, one was about 5ft 9in, of medium build, wearing jeans. The other was about 6ft, of medium build and had a Dundee accent. He had short brown or black spiky hair, with a slight fringe and was wearing a blue short-sleeved shirt with thin white or grey horizontal lines on it and dark jeans.

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

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.

Perth & Kinross

Work on Perth building reveals secret carving

December 10 2015

The restoration of a prominent Perth waterfront building has revealed a hidden secret. During extensive repair and conservation work on the city’s former natural history museum, a stone carving of an otter with a salmon was discovered high up on the south gable not previously known by owners Timelarch Ltd. John McEwan, director of Timelarch Ltd, said: “Although we have owned the building since 1988 and were aware of many of the property’s stone carved gargoyles and animal faces, the carved otter and salmon has never been noted before. “Our recent restoration work was to the Victorian terrace, formerly housing a school to teach religious education to underprivileged children at No 62 to 64 and the natural history museum at No 66. “Perth Opera House at No 60 was latterly a warehouse for Loves of Perth, but sadly burnt to the ground in the mid ’80s. The terrace was originally constructed in the 19th Century as part of a major redevelopment of South Tay Street by a consortium of Perth businessmen including Sir Thomas Moncrieffe and Robert Pullar of Pullar’s of Perth Dyeworks and Cleaners.” The recent repair and conservation work, by local tradespeople, took six weeks and was partly funded by a grant from the Perth City Heritage Fund, a grant administered by Perth and Kinross Heritage Trust (PKHT) with the support of Historic Environment Scotland. The work included lead replacement, window renovations, lime mortar work, and new cast iron downpipes with foliate decorations, faithfully copied from the originals by Ballantine’s Castings Ltd at Bo’ness.” Sue Hendry, chairman of PKHT, spoke of her delight at seeing such a prominent building conserved and restored. “We were very pleased to be able to assist the conservation of this fine building with a grant from the Perth City Heritage Fund,” she said. PKHT has received £750,000 to run the second phase of the scheme to 2018 to enhance the conservation areas of Perth city centre and Kinnoull. The first phase from 2012 to 2015 supported 33 projects with almost £650,000 of funding.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus fishery business hits out at ‘ill-informed interests’

January 15 2014

A family fishery business is again at odds with sporting interests after a call to return rod and net-caught salmon before mid-May. The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards’ suggestion ahead of the opening of the Tay season has been made in a fresh attempt to offer greater protection to breeding fish returning to spawn in Scottish rivers. However, George Pullar, director of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company based at Usan on the Angus coast, has accused “ill-informed interests” of unfairly castigating netting businesses. “Even through catch and release, killing of spring fish does occur by angling,” Mr Pullar said. “It is utter nonsense to suggest that hooking a fish and playing it until it is exhausted before landing, followed by resuscitating and then releasing the fish, has no profound negative effects upon wild salmon. “Scientific studies have indicated that there is a significant degree of mortality associated with this practice.” He added: “A total of 22,682 wild salmon were reported caught and killed in the rod and line fishery in the 2012 season by anglers. It stands to reason that a reasonable proportion of these will be spring fish. “In contrast, commercial netting in Scotland killed 16,230 salmon during the same season.” Mr Pullar’s firm also remains in talks with north-east fishery boards following last year’s Salmon Net Fishing Association of Scotland (SNFAS) reversal of a blanket voluntary policy of not beginning netting for the first six weeks of the season from this year. “For the last 14 years SNFAS members generally have abided by this voluntary policy without receiving compensation from angling proprietors who benefit directly from netting restraint,” Mr Pullar added. “The reversal of this policy has led to an outcry by the angling sector against netting, with claims that salmon netting interests are not conservation minded. “Let me be clear that I am speaking for my own company and not SNFAS generally, but we feel that this decision has been sensationalised and misrepresented by those who are determined to see the end of traditional salmon netting a unique niche Scottish industry. “While we have an existing agreement with the Esk board until 2015, we have approached both the Caithness and Deveron District Salmon Fishery Boards to discuss and agree a voluntary way forward, currently without success. “It is simply unacceptable and extremely draconian for ill-informed interests to castigate netting, calling for our legitimate legal rights to be trampled upon. “Fishing is a way of life for us. While salmon netting now accounts for a smaller proportion of salmon caught in Scotland than angling, we are justifiably proud of our rich rural heritage. “Scottish Wild Salmon (an EU-protected food name) is sold all over the world and should rightly continue to be recognised as one of Scotland’s finest exports.”


Dundee University study shows MS patients are living much longer

September 27 2013

People with multiple sclerosis (MS) are living longer, Dundee University researchers have found. The death rate among sufferers of the disease fell by 3% a year between 1990 and 2010. As a consequence, the number of people living with MS has risen and the scientists believe this could have important implications for the allocation of health resources. Dr Isla Mackenzie, senior clinical lecturer at the university’s medicines monitoring unit, said: “Our research covers four million patients from a representative sample of GP practices spread throughout the UK. “It is important to have this information on the prevalence of MS in order to understand the impact of this disease and to ensure that adequate resources are provided both nationally and regionally for people affected by MS.” The data also shows that the disease now affects around 127,000 people in the UK. MS affects the central nervous system. The peak age at which MS was diagnosed is between 40 and 50. MS is much more common in women than in men 72% of people living with MS in 2010 were women. The study was funded by the Multiple Sclerosis National Therapy Centres. Charity chairman Neil Kemsley said: “As more people in the UK are living longer with MS, the help and support provided by the network of therapy centres throughout the country will become even more valuable and important in helping them to achieve the best possible quality of life.” David Pullar, who was diagnosed with MS when he was 20, is a member of the MS Therapy Centre Tayside in Dundee. His diagnosis coincided with its opening and was the first to use it in 1982. He has been going there at least once a week ever since. Mr Pullar said: “I would be lost without the centre. I use oxygen treatment and physiotherapy and feel that both benefit me enormously. “I find that if I go away on holiday and don’t go to the centre for a week or more I begin to feel lethargic, but once I have oxygen treatment I pick up. “I also can’t speak too highly of the benefits of physiotherapy. Not only does it help me physically but it also has mood enhancing effects.” “I used to visit the centre twice a week, but for the last six months I have only been able to go once a week because of the costs of transport.”

Angus & The Mearns

Usan Salmon Fisheries warns Christmas trade will be hit by post office closure

June 20 2011

The owners of an Angus salmon fishery have claimed the closure of a post office could badly affect trade this Christmas. david Pullar of Usan Salmon Fisheries was speaking following a visit from a contingent of Angus SNP representatives to his business, which provides wild salmon to the export market. Mike Weir MP joined Nigel Don MSP and Montrose councillor Paul Valentine to meet David and his brother George for a tour of the premises. The closure of the nearby Ferryden Post Office means the firm must now travel to either Montrose or Arbroath to send out orders, which could prove difficult when trying to get freshly caught fish dispatched on time. David Pullar said, "In the run-up to Christmas we export smoked salmon all over Europe and our orders have to be away before 1pm. Now, because Ferryden has shut down, we have to go to the so-called main office in Montrose. "I could go and stand there for half an hour just to get them away and it is not always possible to do that. It would probably be as quick for me to drive all the way to Arbroath and wait in the queue there." Mr Pullar said the festive rush accounts for up to 90% of his deliveries and any delay could have a major impact. Mr Weir said the concerns raised reflect problems many businesses' experience. "The simple fact is that such businesses do not have ready access to the deals offered by alternative carriers to large business and rely on the Post Office and Royal Mail," he said. "I will be taking the matter up further with the Post Office as they try to put in place an alternative service for the village." Mr Don said he was "delighted" to visit the operation and view a shed built with Scottish Government assistance. He added, "It is good to see such traditional industries doing well and continuing to seek expansion and new markets." Usan Salmon Fisheries was established in the 1960s and is one of the last salmon companies in Scotland, operating netting stations along the coast from Montrose to Arbroath.