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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...


Dead dolphin washed up on beach at Monifieth

September 17 2014

A dead dolphin has been washed up on the beach at Monifieth. The young male dolphin was discovered at around 4pm on Monday, and was placed in a body bag. Yesterday, the body was taken for examination by specialists at the Scottish Marine Animal Standing Scheme in Inverness. It is currently unknown how the animal came to end up on the beach, in close proximity to the football pitches. Stewart Burns, a member of the British Divers Marine Life Rescue Group, said: “It’s unusual to find a dead dolphin and we want to know if it was stranded. “We’re trying to figure out what happened. It’s not a very nice sight. But at the end of the day it’s a dead animal. “It’s amazing how quickly foreign bacteria can spread. “This dolphin’s not as dangerous because it’s dead, but when it’s in the water it’s taking in all sorts of bacteria that are harmful to us.”


British Wildlife Photographer of the Year recognition for Dundee snapper

September 2 2013

A Dundee photographer has scooped one of the main awards in the British Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition. Tomasz Garbacz came up trumps in the “British Seasons” category thanks to his ptarmigan submission. Meanwhile, an image of a dolphin surfing in the waves claimed top prize in the prestigious contest. The dolphin’s eye view shot was captured off the coast of Northern Ireland by George Karbus, from County Clare, Ireland, who swam in the surf with the mammal to get the winning image and secure the £5,000 prize. Mr Karbus said: “Each time the dolphin got into the wave, I dived underneath, held my breath and waited for the moment when he would swish through a silver barrel close enough to my lens. “Water visibility is always very limited in Ireland and I was very lucky to get a shot like this.” Striking images of a badger among trees, a fallow deer on a housing estate, a grey wagtail fighting its reflection in a car wing mirror and close-ups of woodland fungus and a tiny snail on a fern were among the winners in the competition. The judges selected winners for 12 categories which aim to highlight the wealth of nature in the UK, including a wildlife video and a documentary series of pictures which was won with a photo essay on vaccinating badgers for TB as an alternative to culling. Mr Karbus’s dolphin picture won the coast and marine category and also scooped the prize of overall winner. Prizes were also awarded for two junior categories, with eight-year-old Liam Constantine, from Hull, East Yorkshire, winning the award for a photograph by a youngster under 12, for his picture of a brown hare. Joseph Amess, 15, from Steyning, West Sussex, scooped the award in the 12-18-year-olds category for his image of a great tit in flight. Chris Packham, naturalist and TV presenter, said: “These stunning images by so many talented photographers highlight the diversity, breadth and beauty of our precious wildlife and the need to protect their habitats. A book showcasing the best of this year's entries is also being published, and an exhibition of 100 images and video launches at the Mall Galleries in London before touring the country. The winning images, video and selection of highly commended entries can be viewed at www.bwpawards.co.uk. The full list of winners is: British wildlife photographer, and winner of marine and coast category George Karbus, from County Clare, Ireland, for “In the living room” (bottlenose dolphin). Animal portrait Mark Thomas, from Northwhich, Cheshire, for “Tommy” (tompot blenny). Animal behaviour Robin Orrow, from Norfolk, for “Deadly rivals” (grey wagtail). Urban wildlife Jamie Hall, from Norfolk, for “Fallow deer on housing estate”. Hidden Britain James Knight, from Buckinghamshire, for “Viewpoint” (snail). Wildwoods Richard Packwood, from Powys, Wales, for “Badger in the woods”. Habitat Margaret Walker, from Inverness, for “Red deer stags enduring blizzard”. Botanical Britain Robert Canis, from Kent, for “In the shadow of giants” (saffrondrop bonnet). Natural details Michael Gallagher, from London, for “Cuttlefish detail”. British seasons Tomasz Garbacz, from Dundee, for “Ptarmigan”. Documentary series Neil Aldridge, from London, for “The alternative” (badger vaccination). Wildlife in HD video Liz Musser, from Fair Isle, Shetland, for “Henry and the waxwings”. The winners of the Wildpix Young People's Awards were: Under-12 Liam Constantine from Hull, East Yorkshire, for his image of a brown hare. 12-18 Joseph Amess, Steyning, West Sussex, for his image of a great tit in flight.


Dead dolphin washes up at Broughty Ferry

November 21 2012

An eight-foot dolphin carcass washed up on a Tayside beach on Tuesday. The badly-decomposed creature, which was missing its tail and fins, was spotted on the coastline in Broughty Ferry. The corpse was later buried on the beach by a disposal team from Dundee City Council. The dolphin had been spotted floating in the water on Monday night by passers-by who initially thought it may have been a whale. Scottish SPCA and the Coastwatch patrol attended the scene close to the Douglas Terrace junction with Westfield Road. One Douglas Terrace resident said the dolphin had drawn early-morning interest. She said: ''A lot of cyclists pass this way on their way to work and they stopped to see what it was. I think they thought it was a whale at first.'' A JCB digger was brought from nearby Forthill Primary School to bury the dolphin. Council officials visited the site shortly after 10am to photograph and measure the creature. It is understood that the Scottish Agricultural College in Inverness has requested photographs of the dolphin along with a DNA sample. Gareth Norman, regional coordinator from the British Divers Marine Life Rescue for the Tay and Forth, said Scottish Strandings, which is based at the college, would have carried out a post-mortem if the dolphin had not been so badly decomposed He said: ''Sometimes it's because of a disease or a parasite, and of course they also die of natural causes, but I don't think we will know what killed this dolphin. ''We have had a couple of porpoises washed up before and this is the second dolphin on the beach. We also often see dead seals.'' A police spokeswoman said: ''We received a call at around 9.30pm on Monday night to say that a marine animal was washed up on the beach and was decomposed. The council were contacted and they have disposed of it.'' A Dundee City Council spokesman said the carcass had been disposed of ''as quickly as possible''. The death is the latest in a series of reported incidents of whales and dolphins being washed up on coastlines around Tayside and Fife. In September a 40ft whale was washed up at Arbroath. In the same month 17 pilot whales, including three calves, died after a 27-strong pod became beached on the rocks between Pittenweem and Anstruther. Ten whales were rescued and refloated by vets and volunteers. gogston@thecourier.co.uk


Fintry glass attacker ordered to pay £1000 compensation after leaving 78-year-old scarred

May 23 2016

A thug who glassed a 78-year-old man following a bizarre bar-room brawl - leaving the OAP scarred - has avoided jail. Kenneth Thomson attacked Henry Heenan at the Dolphin Bar in Dundee’s Fintry area just before Christmas last year. Thomson had asked the OAP to borrow cash - then later went back for more, causing an argument to break out. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC placed Thomson on an electronic tag restricting him to his home from 7pm to 7am for four months. He was also ordered to pay a £650 fine and £1000 in compensation to Mr Heenan.

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

Business news

Brewin Dolphin’s Figaro hit

May 14 2014

Financial services group Brewin Dolphin yesterday said it had stopped roll-out of a major software platform in its discretionary wealth management business. The firm began integrating the Figaro system in its Stocktrade business in 2011 but said its implementation had been delayed by a “number of issues” with the functionality and robustness of the software. It said the board had now decided it was no longer an appropriate operating system for its wealth management division. The firm expected to book a £32 million exceptional pre-tax impairment charge in the second half of the year as a result of the decision. It said it would be listed as a non-cash item and would have no impact on the group’s regulatory capital position or adjusted pre-tax profit. Brewin Dolphin said it is in negotiations on £15m of follow-up payments expected in the next 10 years under original software roll-out contracts.

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.


Ahoy, me hearties! New boat trips on the Tay

April 22 2017

This week, Gayle explores Dundee from a new perspective – on a newly launched River Tay boat trip. As the hulking ship-like structure of the V&A rises up to meet us, a huge smile forms on Ian Ashton’s lips. “Everything looks better from the water,” he beams, and I have to agree. I’m on one of a newly launched series of boat trips on the River Tay led by Ian, taking in Broughty Ferry and Dundee waterfronts and a section of the Fife coastline. It’s a chance to see and learn a great deal about the area’s maritime history and a rare opportunity to get up close to the V&A. If you’re lucky, you might even see some dolphins. Powerboat instructor Ian, 42, launched the trips this month after “test” runs with friends and family proved a roaring success. On board today are a couple from Arbroath and a lady from East Lothian, and a group of French people are booked in after us. As we leave the Ferry pier, a strong wind whips up and Ian warns we might get a tad wet. Not to worry as everyone is geared up to the max in waterproofs. Passing the Ferry’s imposing castle, the RNLI station and Royal Tay Yacht Club, it’s not long before we reach Dundee harbour with its oil rigs and ships. We pause here awhile, as Ian, an offshore worker, talks us through the history of the drilling platforms and points out features such as the helipad and derrick (which houses the drill used to tap new wells). "There were a couple of Dutch and Belgian battleships docked here on a NATO exercise yesterday – shame you missed them,” he says. As we progress along the waterfront, a nasty niff emanates from the shipyards, which Ian reveals is probably fish meal. Nice. We then pass City Quay and its tidal gates, the site of the Discovery ship’s construction, and couthy, cobbled Chandlers Lane. There’s also the site of a Second World War submarine refuelling site and, for me, the highlight – puttering along in front of the V&A. “The best side of the V&A is unquestionably on the water,” proclaims Ian. “You can see, on a daily basis, progress being made. Right now, the cladding is being installed. The gap between each piece is too short for seagulls to nest.” Some say it resembles a big ship and from this angle, it certainly is a remarkable piece of design, with Kengo Kuma’s bold architectural vision inspired by the natural forms of Scotland’s cliffs. Heading under the rail bridge, Ian points out a section of twisted metal – a poignant reminder of the disaster of 1879. As we speed under the road bridge, the sea sprays into our faces, which is exhilarating to say the least. Other fascinating sights include the Larick Beacon, just off Tayport, known locally as The Pile. Built in 1845, this wooden lantern structure is one of only a few surviving pile lighthouses in the UK, although it’s not been used since the 60s. Other trips head out towards Tentsmuir Forest, where passengers can spy curious seals and bottlenose dolphins. Back on dry land, dad-of-two Ian tells me he plans to run trips via his company Pirate Boats Ltd through spring and summer. “The Tay is a massively underutilised resource; there’s a lot to see and a lot of history out there,” he says. “I love taking people out on the water and everybody gets something from it. But the biggest surprise is that although I’d researched sights along the river, on almost every trip, people have been chipping in with their own memories and stories about the Tay.” For folk considering taking a trip – even those who think they know Dundee inside out – Ian promises they’ll see a big chunk of the city they didn’t realise they’d missed, and I can certainly vouch for that. info To find out more or to book a Tay Estuary boat trip, contact the Facebook page of Pirate Boats Ltd or www.pirateboatsltd.com All trips leave from the castle pier at Broughty Ferry. Ian’s boat, Skua, is a rigid inflatable boat which seats eight or 10 people including children. He's running trips every day between April 24 and 30. Ian is running a competition to win a dolphin-spotting trip on the Tay for four people. See the Facebook page for more details. https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=607217526148066&id=507170302819456&substory_index=0  


Leap in numbers seeking sight of Tay dolphins

July 16 2011

Animal lovers have been flocking to get up close to the Tay's dolphin population. Since the end of last month around 50 dolphins have returned to the Tay Estuary. Their arrival has sparked a mini-boom in tourism, with sightseers travelling from Glasgow and Edinburgh and there has even been an inquiry from France. Pleasure boat trips on the Badger and Marigot continue to be a big hit with visitors, according to the volunteer organisation Taymara. Bob Richmond, head of unit at Taymara, said, "The last few weeks has been incredibly busy. The dolphins were slower in turning up this year but I think that was due to the bad weather creating silt in the water, which the dolphins don't like." Happily for Mr Richmond and his team, the dolphin pod contains lots of juveniles, which will help ensure its future for coming years. "The dolphins seem to be very healthy and lots of juveniles," he said. "They are also now breeding in the estuary, which is very encouraging." Despite there being no guarantee visitors will see the pod on a given day, Mr Richmond says there is around an 85% chance of spotting the group on boat trips.