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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…

From The Archives

How fisher women of North-East charmed press corps

November 30 2016

There was a time when Britain’s opinion formers viewed girls from Scotland’s fishing communities as the epitome of beauty and health. In the late Victorian period, many London journalists spent hours studying the girls go about their work before filing complimentary reports for their newspapers. I wrote once before of how one journalist decamped to Auchmithie to witness the girls with “legs and arms tanned brown and their short skirts above their knees and loose-fitting bodices flattering their muscular physiques”. They certainly seem to have won over Fleet Street, so when The Lancet described fish curing as a dangerous occupation practised by wizened sea hags in 1902, The Daily Telegraph went into war mode. Far from prune like harpies, blasted the Telegraph, these girls are “strong and healthy looking, their bare arms harmonising with their rosy cheeks”. The indignant reporter advised the Lancet writer to visit Montrose, Anstruther or Fraserburgh to see for himself. Such adulation was far from unusual, however. In 1872 a journalist from the London Globe seems to have lingered in Gourdon to watch the local girls. He observed that “the girls, inspite of constant exposure to the air, have delicately fair complexions and a few would madden a painter”. It looks like the journalist may have crossed verbal swords with one of the older local women during his time in the village. He noted the men seem to spend most of their time on their boats which “have the advantage of being short of the clacking, vigorous tongue of the shrewish-minded Scotch fish wife”. Our man from the Globe described Gourdon’s packed harbour as resembling a city as a bluish haze of stove smoke rose from the boats. He finished his article with the following summary of the village: “Gourdon is one of the early stations of the herring shoal on its mighty annual march north. “It is a charming place to live for a week if you can thrive on fish and dispense with civilization. French fishermen stationed off the coast say Gourdon has nine months of winter and three months of hard weather.”

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

Angus & The Mearns

Fleet Air Arm veteran Leonard ‘Tug’ Wilson dies aged 69

June 6 2013

Former Royal Navy sailor Leonard Wilson has died at his Arbroath home. He was 69. Known by many as Tug, he was discovered by friends in Rossie Street last week. Mr Wilson, who was originally from the Borders, served in the navy with the Fleet Air Arm for more than 20 years. He had been suffering from ill health and recently had a stay in Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, but he had recovered well enough to be out with friends the weekend before his death. He was described as “a stalwart member” of 45 Commando Veterans in Arbroath. Association chairman Stuart Lavery said: “Tug was a well-known face around Arbroath and he was very well liked. “No one would have had a bad word to say about him. He’s been a member of the veterans’ association for four years and lived in Arbroath for about 10 years, and stayed in Carnoustie before that.” Secretary David McCaig said: “Tug was a dear friend to us all, attending our monthly meetings and travelling to our charity events, and I will always remember how much Tug enjoyed himself when he came with us to Malta. Happy memories, he will be sadly missed. It is understood Mr Wilson has family in the Borders and a funeral is yet to be arranged.

Readers' letters

Irony of the Typhoon display at Leuchars

September 13 2013

Sir, As the RAF Ensign was lowered at the sunset ceremony at the last RAF Leuchars Airshow, well- informed observers and commentators would have seen the irony in one of the displays during the flying programme, namely the Quick Reaction Alert scramble of two Typhoons. With the planned move of air assets some 150 miles north to Lossiemouth, it is in danger of being renamed Delayed Reaction Alert or Diminished Reaction Alert as even travelling at a supersonic 660mph at, say, 35,000 feet, it is going to take the aircraft approximately 14 minutes to fly from Lossiemouth to Leuchars. RAF Leuchars QRA aircraft have been protecting British airspace for over six decades, with no complaints as to their ability to do so, and as a 9/11 style attack is probably the most likely threat to our airspace these days, it is very strange that these same aircraft will be asked to patrol our skies from Lossiemouth to protect us from rogue civilian aircraft that will be flying in air corridors over Britain, 95% of which are south of the Glasgow/Edinburgh corridor. It would appear that the politicians know they have got it wrong, but none are prepared to reverse the decision. The army are destined to come in 2015, even though rumour has it they don’t want to, as it is completely unsuitable for their needs the runway and its services are being retained for emergency diversions. The £240 million price tag for this folly seems steep, but when compared to the £1.5 billion which has reportedly been wasted by the MoD over the last two years, it doesn’t seem so bad. The taxpayer also gets to see £10.2 million wasted every year in increased training costs for the Typhoons, as they fly all the way back to Fife to practise in well-established training grounds just east of Dundee. The prime directive of government is to protect its citizens. Good defence is not determined by luck but by strategy, something the Government decided to leave out of their SDSR. Mark Sharp. 41 Norman View, Leuchars. Jenny’s got it wrong Sir, Jenny Hjul’s article (yesterday’s Courier) takes up the cudgels on behalf of “female exploitation” in lads’ mags. Jenny has got this one wrong, however. In cases of exploitation it is usually the end user, or purchaser, who is being “exploited” and these magazines are no different. The ladies whose images make up the content are being handsomely paid for being photographed, with their full consent, and the magazines’ proprietors are raking in the cash. Nobody is being exploited at that end of the trade, but it is the blokes who part with their cash to buy the mags who are being exploited. No, Jenny, it’s not male exploitation of women, but quite the reverse. It’s female exploitation of men for profit. It’s being going on since the beginning of time and trying to sound trendy by reversing the roles ain’t going to stop it. Vive le difference! (Captain) Ian F McRae. 17 Broomwell Gardens, Monikie. No Scottish jobs created Sir, The brief article re Seimens turbines arriving in Dundee docks should be of interest to readers. The SNP have consistently declared these monstrosities, which are destroying our beautiful landscape, create jobs. The reality is they are manufactured abroad, connected using foreign cables and do not create any Scottish jobs, courtesy of EU procurement rules. We all know the enthusiasm Mr Salmond has for the EU, so he is right in one respect. They do create jobs. For the Germans. However, they cost us all huge amounts in massive subsidies in our electricity bills. If, God forbid, we secure independence, we will have the euro thrust upon us, increasing cost even more. Iain Cathro. 31 Ferndale Drive, Dundee. Slipping into a ‘dark age’? Sir “Humans have stopped evolving” (The Courier Tuesday, September 10). This statement by Sir David Attenborough may be the most significant of his career and deserves to be taken very seriously by governments around the world. Should he be correct, and there is much evidence to indicate he is, then we are already in regression and slipping into a “Dark Age”. Perhaps it is now time for ad hoc “think tanks” to formulate strategic global plans for the way ahead . . . taking into account the objectives and aspirations of all good people before it is too late! Kenneth Miln. 22 Fothringham Drive, Monifieth. A great day all round Sir, Having been an outspoken critic of the traffic and parking management in the past, I must now congratulate all concerned with last Saturday’s air show. In light of the number of people attending, getting on site was, for us, a breeze. The show was excellent even though the Vulcan and red nine (only eight red arrows some shapes just didn’t work!) were sorely missed. Even the weather held up. a great day all round. Marcia Wright. 19 Trinity Road, Brechin.

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

Wizz Air inks deal with Airbus for new aircraft

December 29 2017

Budget carrier Wizz Air has signed a deal with Airbus for 146 new aircraft that are valued in excess of 17.2 billion US dollars (£13 billion). The agreement will enable Wizz Air to renew its existing fleet, provide additional capacity for further growth and offer lower fares, the company said. The 72 A320neos and 74 A321neos have been purchased at a “significant discount” from the list price and Wizz Air will “retain flexibility in determining the most favourable method of financing” the fleet. They will be delivered between 2021 and 2026. Wizz Air boss Jozsef Varadi said: “This further order of latest-technology aircraft will help us to continue to drive our operating costs even lower as we aim to become the absolute cost leader in Europe, which in turn will enable us to continue to offer the lowest fares and so stimulate travel by air throughout Europe while our customers enjoy great service on board one of the youngest fleets in Europe.” Wizz Air recently said it would bolster its operations at Luton Airport by adding four new aircraft, bringing new routes and creating 150 jobs. In November the FTSE 250 firm posted a 25% rise in net profits to 288.6 million euro (£255.7 million) for the six months ending in September. Wizz Air also hiked its annual profit outlook to between 265 million euros (£234.3 million) and 280 million euros (£247.6 million). (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Ravender Sembhy, Press Association City Editor'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '2c080731-a747-4603-8891-f8526c71bf67'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:finance,paservice:finance:city'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Wizz Air inks deal with Airbus for new aircraft'});

Complex history of flagship recruitment deal between Capita and the MoD

January 19 2018

The £1.3 billion recruiting partnership project between the Ministry of Defence and Capita has been marred by extra costs and technical difficulties. In March 2012 Capita signed the landmark deal pledging to overhaul and improve recruitment across the armed forces. As well as taking over recruitment for the Army, Capita was contracted to design the defence recruitment system, an IT system intended to handle Army, Royal Navy, Royal Air Force and Royal Fleet Auxiliary recruitment. Ministers have confirmed the project went live on November 13, five years after the original contract was signed, but this was immediately followed by reports of technical issues. Defence minister Mark Lancaster told MPs this week there were “minor glitches in the new computer system”, adding that they were being ironed out. Former defence minister Mark Francois has criticised Capita (Anna Gowthorpe/PA) The shortfall in savings has been partly blamed on extra funding needed to set up the defence recruitment system. It comes amid wider issues with recruitment to the armed forces. A report last year by Conservative former defence minister Mark Francois found that the Army is missing its annual recruitment target by as much as 30%, with the Royal Navy and RAF around 10% short. At the time he said the recruitment problem “is exacerbated by an outsourcing contract with Capita which is performing badly”. Separate figures released to Parliament show that in the 12 months to October, 6,060 new recruits joined key posts in the Army against a target of 7,970, including a shortfall of more than 1,000 new recruits for the infantry. (function(i,s,o,g,r,a,m){i['GoogleAnalyticsObject']=r;i[r]=i[r]||function(){ (i[r].q=i[r].q||[]).push(arguments)},i[r].l=1*new Date();a=s.createElement(o), m=s.getElementsByTagName(o)[0];a.async=1;a.src=g;m.parentNode.insertBefore(a,m) })(window,document,'script','//www.google-analytics.com/analytics.js','ga'); ga('create', 'UA-72310761-1', 'auto', {'name': 'pacontentapi'}); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'referrer', location.origin); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension1', 'By Jon Vale, Press Association Political Staff'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', 'a5c8d64f-d715-4a72-bbfe-b75b481fa590'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:uk'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension6', 'story'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension7', 'composite'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension8', null); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension9', null); ga('pacontentapi.send', 'pageview', { 'location': location.href, 'page': (location.pathname + location.search + location.hash), 'title': 'Complex history of flagship recruitment deal between Capita and the MoD'});

Angus & The Mearns

Angus remembers Gallipoli fallen

April 25 2016

New Zealand airmen who perished in the skies over Angus were remembered yesterday. The Anzac commemoration was inaugurated around two decades ago and is jointly organised by the New Zealand Society Scotland and Arbroath branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland. Its traditional annual date falls around the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings when Australian and New Zealand forces took part in the operation to overcome the Ottoman Turkish defenders. Veterans from across Angus joined leading figures from the New Zealand and Australian High Commissions, the Anzac Society Scotland and Royal British Legion in quiet respect at the town’s Western Cemetery. The ceremony took place around the graves of four New Zealand pilots, killed while training with the Fleet Air Arm in the Second World War when they were stationed at what is now the 45 Commando Royal Marines base at Condor. Brian Patterson came from a small farming community on New Zealand’s North Island. Less than a year after leaving his rural home to be trained for the Fleet Air Arm he died in a plane collision 600 feet above the Angus town. Jim Drake — the third child of a Gallipoli veteran — crashed his Spitfire on a training flight near Barry. Richard Chettle had volunteered for the Royal NZ Air Force in 1940 but also perished in an Angus training exercise. Frederick Batten is the fourth airman laid to rest in Arbroath. He was an experienced flyer who trained in the US before completing a number of operational missions, only to die in a non-operational flight over the county. Leading the Angus representation was Provost Helen Oswald and the area’s Lord Lieutenant Mrs Georgiana Osborne who was born in New Zealand. Dignitaries in attendance included Molly Smith, the vice president of the Anzac Society Scotland; Sir Neil McIntosh, honorary consul of the New Zealand High Commission; Laura Crone, the second secretary of the New Zealand High Commission; Lieutenant General Sir Alistair Irwin of the Royal British Legion Scotland; and New Zealand Society Scotland president Eriti Mitchell. It was on April 25 1915 that the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps landed in Turkey as part of the Gallipoli campaign. The appalling loss of life at Gallipoli shocked the people of the two countries. By the time the campaign ended, more than 130,000 men had died; at least 87,000 Ottoman soldiers and 44,000 allied soldiers, including more than 8,700 Australians. Also among the dead were 2,779 New Zealanders, about a fifth of all those who had landed on the peninsula. Each year on Anzac Day, or the nearest Sunday, Australians and New Zealanders join together to remember those who served and to commemorate all who have died in war or conflict.

Angus & The Mearns

Angus to host 20th Arbroath ANZAC ceremony in honour of the fallen

April 17 2018

Poignant thoughts of a figure who founded an organisation celebrating Scots/Kiwi links will be relayed from the opposite side of the world to a sombre weekend service honouring ANZAC servicemen and women. Twenty years on from first staging the commemoration, Arbroath’s Western cemetery will host one of Scotland’s most significant ANZAC ceremonies, at the final resting place of four New Zealand airmen who perished thousands of miles from home. Sunday morning’s service will feature the heartfelt words of New Zealander Peter Leslie, the founding chairman of the New Zealand Society Scotland, which in partnership with the Arbroath branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland has ensured the ultimate sacrifice of Australian and New Zealand service personnel is remembered as part of a global tribute each spring. The Angus ANZAC commemoration began in Forfar, but moved to Arbroath when Mr Leslie learned of the graves of his countrymen there. On the north side of the graveyard, the closest part of the cemetery to what is now the RM Condor headquarters of 45 Commando but was firstly a Fleet Air Arm base, are the memorials to the airmen who lost their lives while stationed in Angus. Less than a year after leaving his rural home to be trained for the Fleet Air Arm, Brian Patterson from New Zealand’s North Island died in a plane collision 600 feet above the Angus town. Jim Drake — the third child of a Gallipoli veteran — crashed his Spitfire on a training flight near Barry. Richard Chettle volunteered for the Royal NZ Air Force in 1940 but also perished in an Angus training exercise, and the final airman buried at Arbroath is Frederick Batten, an experienced flyer who trained in the US before completing a number of operational missions, only to die in a non-operational flight. After a spell in Angus which he remembers with deep affection, Mr Leslie has now returned to his homeland, but in a message to be read to the gathered company this weekend will also pay tribute to Perth’s Ereti Mitchell, president of the NZ Society Scotland, Arbroath Legion and the personnel of 212 Battery Royal Artillery, who will deliver the ANZAC gun salute. Taking the salute will be Angus Lord Lieutenant, Mrs Georgiana Osborne, herself a New Zealander, who has encouraged people from Angus and beyond to participate in the ceremony, which gets under way at 11.30am on Sunday. Anzac commemorations are
 traditionally held on the nearest Sunday to the anniversary of the 1915 Gallipoli campaign, when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps suffered an appalling loss of life after the Turkish landings. Also known as the Dardanelles campaign, the near year-long conflict cost an estimated 100,000 lives, more than 10,000 of those ANZAC personnel.