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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...

Business news

Shepherd Building Consultancy gathers Lynne Suttie

November 20 2014

Shepherd Building Consultancy has appointed Lynne Suttie as senior building surveyor in its Dundee office. The new Broughty Ferry-based recruit, who worked for Hardies in St Andrews for 10 years, is tasked with developing the firm’s surveying and project management services in Tayside and Fife. Mark Totten, partner at Shepherd’s Building Consultancy division, said: “Lynne is a welcome addition to our building surveying team at a time when we are experiencing a significant rise in workload across Scotland.” Mrs Suttie is “delighted to join Shepherd’s busy Dundee office at a time of substantial growth”.

Angus & The Mearns

Case against Kirriemuir man accused of attacking cyclist not proven

February 26 2014

The case against an Angus man accused of assaulting a cyclist in a “classic road-rage incident” has been found not proven. Kirriemuir man Garry Shepherd had faced charges alleging that he drove carelessly in overtaking Angus Bike Chain member Ian Ryan before pushing him off his bike and assaulting him. But on Tuesday Forfar Sheriff Court heard Sheriff Valerie Johnston give a verdict of not proven regarding the assault charge, after the Crown dropped its case for careless driving. Mr Ryan, 49, said he was taking a £7,000 bike out for only the second time on May 25. The court heard the silver Volvo S60, with personal plates, had been behind the bike in Cortachy Road, Kirriemuir, for around 90 seconds before overtaking. Mr Shepherd then stopped in the road and an altercation between the men began. Mr Ryan said he was pushed off his bike before he was knelt on and “four or five” punches thrown at his face. He claimed this came after the accused said “cyclists shouldn’t be on the roads”, and was verbally abusive. The court also heard evidence from a passenger in Mr Shepherd’s car, a couple who were driving in the vehicle behind and PC Rory Forge, who took Mr Shepherd’s statement. Depute fiscal Jim Eodanable put it to Mr Shepherd that he was angered by the cyclist’s position in the middle of the road, which he had taken in order to avoid potholes and potential damage to his rigid-frame bike, which he had bought after “a few years of saving”. Defence solicitor Lee Qumsieh said the testimony of passers-by, and of Mr Shepherd’s mother-in-law in his passenger seat, was evidence that Mr Ryan had gesticulated rudely on being overtaken, and an oncoming vehicle was not forced to brake sharply during the overtake. Answering to the charge of assault, Mr Shepherd said: “I did push him on his (bottom), but that was after he put the head on me it was self-defence.” The 39-year-old, of Roman Road, claimed the cyclist seemed to “revel” in causing an obstruction, rather than being mindful of the road. Sheriff Johnston said: “This is a classic road-rage incident. I accept the cyclist did make these rude gestures, which stemmed from some slight he felt he suffered from the driving, (but) I don’t consider the evidence sufficient to support a charge of careless driving. “I am certain that they were both face to face, shouting at each other.” The sheriff added that the evidence was not sufficient for a “definite conclusion”.

Shows & Sales

Houstouns’ day to remember at Strathardle Gathering

August 26 2014

The agricultural section at Strathardle Gathering came up trumps again this year thanks to an outstanding show of commercial stock and Blackface sheep. It is generally agreed to be one of the best shows of these types of livestock in the country and is all the more remarkable because all the entries are from Kirkmichael and its surrounding parishes, with the vast majority previously unshown. It was a day to remember for David Houstoun from Glenkilrie at Blacklunans. Helped by daughter Rachel he had to move between the prime lamb pens and cattle lines, but it proved worthwhile with championships in each section and a show champion of champions award for his cattle champion. It capped off a busy week which also saw David in action as a part-time fireman tackling the Spittal of Glenshee Hotel fire. His cattle champion, selected by judge David Blair, Little Inch, Gauldry, was an April-born heifer calf by Tiger Woods, a Limousin cross British Blue bull bought from Harry Emslie and out of a Limousin cross British Blue stock cow. David runs 150 cows at Glenkilrie. Saturday’s champion will be sold at United Auctions in the autumn. Mr Blair said: “This is a very correct heifer. She is flashy, and she knows it!” The heifer was selected champion of champions by all the section judges on a points system. Reserve in the cattle section was from Peter and Murray Alexander and stock manager Ian Wilkinson from Mains of Mause, Blairgowrie. This was a May-born home-bred Limousin cross bullock calf. It was on its first outing, and is destined for the Scotbeef live\dead competition next November. The Mains of Mause team, going head-to-head with the best of the Blackfaces, also produced the overall champion breeding sheep. This was a home-bred Mule gimmer by a McNee-bred Bluefaced Leicester sire and out of a Blackface hill ewe. The Blackface sections were, as always at Strathardle, highly competitive. Not for the first time the umpire had to be called in to choose between North and South types. This task fell to Donald Hood from Middlehill, Cortachy, who had already placed the cross breeding classes. He gave the tap to the North-type champion, a two-crop ewe from David Nicol, Viewmount, Glenisla. This one is by the Woolfords-bred Joe Smith and out of a ewe by a £3,500 Viewmount shared with Doldy. The South-type champion was a four-crop ewe from Mark and David Simpson, Sidlaw, Blairgowrie. She was bought at Lanark from Dean Aitken in 2012 and is a granddaughter of Crackpot. The reserve South type was another four- crop ewe bought from Dean Aitken on the same day but this time from Brian Cocker, Auldallan, Lintrathen. Sired by Crackpot, she was third at the Highland this year and champion at Angus, reserve at Strathardle and second at the Highland last year. The reserve North type was from Brian Groom, East Tullyfergus, Alyth, on his last show outing before emigrating to New Zealand. A gimmer which had stood champion at Alyth and reserve at Angus, she is by a £950 Glendamph shared with Jim Ferguson and out of a home-bred ewe. The Houstouns collected their prime lamb championship with a pair of Texel-sired lambs weighing more than 80kg in total. These were by a tup bought from Mains of Dalrulzion and out of Blackface cross Texel ewes. The reserve pair were from the same home and the same way bred, but in the under 80kg class. Cattle (Judge: David Blair, Little Inch, Gauldry) Calves born before 31.10.13 Stot calf: Peter Alexander, Mains of Mause, Blairgowrie. Heifer calf by Char or Simm: Alan Bryce, Gormack, Blairgowrie. Heifer calf by any other breed: Mains of Mause. Calves born between 1.11.13 and 28.2.14 Stot calf by Char or Simm: Gary McGibbon, West Quarter. Stot calf by AOB: Robert Simpson & Son, Mains of Creuchies, Blairgowrie. Heifer calf by Char/Simm: West Quarter. Heifer calf by AOB: Brian Webster, Whitefield. Calves born after 1.3.14 Stot calf by Char/Simm: D Cameron, Auchenleish, Glenisla. Stot calf by AOB: Cloquhat Farms, Bridge of Cally. Heifer calf by Char/Simm: David Bryce, Formal, Kilry. Heifer calf by AOB: Houstoun, Glenkilrie, Blacklunans. Other cattle classes Heifer calf, by any native breed before 31.1.14: Mains of Creuchies. Stot calf by any native breed before 31.1.14: Raymond Martyn, Wester Bleaton, Blacklunans. Heifer calf by any native breed after 1.2.14: Wester Bleaton. Pair of heifer calves: Mains of Creuchies. Pair of stot calves: Mains of Mause. Suckler cow: Mains of Creuchies. SHEEP North-type Blackface sheep (Judge: Ewan Robertson, from Lochwinnoch) Shearling ram: Alan Petrie, Tannadice. Ram lamb: David Nicol, Viewmount, Glenisla. Ewe: Viewmount. One-crop ewe: Viewmount. Gimmer: Brian Groom, East Tullyfergus, Alyth. Ewe lamb: Viewmount. Shepherd’s class: Brian Cocker, Auldallan, Lintrathen, with a gimmer. Group of three females: Viewmount. Group of three males: Alan Petrie. South-type Blackface (Judge: Archie Paterson, Kilmacolm) Aged ram: Tomchulan. Shearling ram: David Heathcote-Amory, Glenfernate, Enoch Dhu. Ram lamb: Fraser Wilson, Steading, Ashintully,Kirkmichael. Ewe: David and Mark Simpson, Sidlaw, Blairgowrie. One-crop ewe: Sidlaw. Gimmer: Sidlaw. Ewe lamb: Steading. Shepherd’s shearling ram: Ross McIntosh, Glenfernate, Enoch Dhu. Shepherd’s ram lamb: Fraser Wilson. Shepherd’s ewe: Brian Cocker. Shepherd’s gimmer: Brian Cocker. Shepherd’s ewe lamb: Fraser Wilson. Shepherd’s overall champion: Brian Cocker. Group of three males: Sidlaw. Group of three females: Sidlaw. Prime lamb pairs (Judge: Alan Frame, High Dykes, Strathaven) Leicester cross: Major J Gibb, Folda, Glenisla. Blackface Wedder: Mains of Mause. BF dam by any sire: Glenkilrie. Suffolk out of BF dam: Wester Bleaton. Suffolk out of Mule dam: Wester Bleaton. Suffolk cross under 80kg: W and A Lindsay, Runavey, Glenshee. Suffolk cross over 80kg: Richardson, Ardlebank, Bridge of Cally. AOB under 80kg: Glenkilrie. AOB over 80kg: Glenkilrie. Cross breeding sheep pairs (Judge: Donald Hood, Middlehill, Cortachy) Pair mule ewe lambs: Ashintully. Cross ewe lambs: Peter Alexander, Persie, Blacklunans. Cross ewes: Mains of Mause. Mule ewes: Mains of Mause. Cross gimmers: Mains of Mause. Mule gimmers: Mains of Mause.

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


Demolition on the cards for unused factory at Halbeath

March 29 2011

A large-scale site in Dunfermline, at one time to be used by Hyundai, is to be demolished shortly. The vacant factory at Halbeath was taken over by the Shepherd Offshore Group in November last year and on Monday night the English renewables company confirmed it will be brought down in a matter of weeks. The group, fronted by former Newcastle United FC chairman Freddie Shepherd, said they have to demolish the million-square-foot site as it was "never commissioned" and they have been in talks with a view to a company taking over the running of the site. Unused plant and machinery was recently sold by Troostwijk Auctions and now the site will be cleared in line to be rebuilt again. The auctioned plant and machinery included four 6000kW boilers, three 1800kVA diesel-driven alternators and three 820 litre-per-hour pure steam generators. Hyundai had intended to build a semiconductor plant but this never materialised, despite it spending around £80 million installing utilities at the Dunfermline site. Motorola took it over, promising around 1350 jobs, but again this fell by the wayside. Then US high-tech firm Zoom Diversified expressed interest, with the prospect of bringing around 1000 jobs, but it dropped its proposals for a solar cell operation. The Scottish Government had offered £10 million to Zoom through Regional Selective Assistance. The Shepherd Offshore Group bought the site last year and is progressing its plans. A spokesman said plant and machinery had now been auctioned and the way is clear for the site to be demolished. "Hopefully this will give us a good indication of what lies in store," he said. "It is basically the pain before the gain. "There are a lot of positive things happening in the area with Amazon moving in, the bidder for the new Forth Bridge just announced and the building of the aircraft carriers at Rosyth. We are a small part of that and have been in talks with people about taking the Dunfermline site over." And he confirmed that the site will be demolished in a few weeks' time. "We will be taking the building down. It is a bit strange, as the building was never commissioned. We'll basically be knocking it down and rebuilding it. People will look at it and see that as a bit unusual but it's not a warehouse."


Driver who crashed into side of house given time to ‘get his affairs in order’

January 31 2014

A 26-year-old Dundee man who crashed his car into a house in a busy residential street had sentence deferred to allow him to “get his affairs in order” in anticipation of a jail sentence. Solicitor Jim Laverty, for Steven Shepherd of Spey Drive, asked that sentence be deferred for reports, asking for six weeks as “the defence may have some difficulty in persuading the court there should be a non-custodial disposal and that would enable Mr Shepherd to make arrangements. He has a young baby.” Shepherd admitted that on September 5, on various roads including Buttars Loan, Kingsway West, Myrekirk Road, South Road, Mallaig Avenue, Spey Drive, Charleston Drive and Ancrum Road, he drove without insurance and while disqualified. He also admitted driving dangerously at excessive speed within the residential streets, overtaking numerous other vehicles, failing to comply with keep left bollards, driving on the opposing carriageway causing oncoming vehicles to swerve to avoid a collision, lose control of the car and collide with a house and another vehicle, causing damage to both cars and the house and injury to himself. Mr Laverty told the court reports would be mandatory and, as there was no prepared written narrative available for the court to hear the circumstances, he asked that the case be continued for an agreed written narrative between the defence and the Crown and for the reports to be prepared. Sheriff McGowan deferred sentence until March 12 and continued Shepherd’s bail. On the day Shepherd’s silver Renault Clio also collided with a parked Mercedes Sprinter van. He was taken to Ninewells Hospital as a precaution. The area around the collision site was closed while a minor gas leak at the premises was repaired and to allow crash investigators to carry out their inquiries. Householder Joe McGeary, 27, said: “I was sitting in the living room and heard the sirens. Then there was a big screech then a bang. The first thing I thought was that my dad’s van had been hit.” He said he looked out to see police smashing the window of a Renault Clio car and pulling out the driver. “I went outside and there was a crushed up Renault Clio in the side of the house.”

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.

Business news

Shepherd merger creates ‘very exciting prospect’

August 19 2014

Dundee-based chartered surveying firm Shepherd yesterday hailed the return of speculative property development, as it seeks to grow its commercial consultancy business following a merger with Glasgow-based Keynorth. The Albert Square-headquartered firm said it had agreed terms with Keynorth over a merger of the complementary businesses and would be creating jobs as it steps up its offering to create a “market-leading” brand. It said its priority would be to recruit in Edinburgh and Dundee, which is poised to benefit from a construction boom as the city seeks investment in its £1 billion waterfront redevelopment. Keynorth has been owned and managed by Mark Totten since 2000, and specialises in surveying and project management services to the commercial property sector. Mr Totten will lead the newly-combined business under the Shepherd banner, after being appointed as a partner in the Dundee firm. Shepherd said the agreement would enhance its “already substantial” commercial consultancy operations, boosting the quality of service to clients as it strives to take a bigger slice of the industry. Senior partner George Brewster said the loosening of lending and finance conditions meant the time was right to boost its presence in the sector. “It became evident from the first meeting with Mark that there was considerable synergy arising from this deal that enables us to offer clients an integrated property solution with building consultancy and surveying at its core,” said Mr Brewster. “With the availability of development funding now returning to the market, I believe the timing of this announcement is central to Shepherd’s client service proposition, with many now beginning to consider speculative opportunities once again.” The combined business will employ 14 staff across an office network including bases in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Inverness, Glasgow and Dumfries. Mr Totten said the merger was a “very exciting prospect for everyone”. “This merger is a perfect fit for both firms and a tremendous opportunity for me personally to participate in the further development of an established building consultancy business within a highly regarded national firm,” he said. “Shepherd’s national building consultancy coverage, its strength and diversity of clients, and the quality and experience of its building surveying staff combine to make this deal a very exciting prospect for everyone. “Whilst the Keynorth brand will be phased out following the merger, it will be a case of business as usual, as the merger will be administered in a seamless manner to ensure there will be no impact on clients or projects.”

Farming news

Profession that’s a privilege

October 1 2016

Autumn is a very special time of year for me. As a farmer I’m in the privileged position to see the countryside around me and its resident wildlife preparing for winter. Pulling on my boots this morning I could hear the sound of wild geese overhead on their migration south. The red deer rut is well underway and it's great to see the stags in action rounding up their harems of hinds. The hills all around are ringing out with stags roaring. There is no better entertainment than to listen to their impressive sounds on a still evening. Bryan Burnett and a team from Radio Scotland visited us last week to do a short interview for a program called ’My Dream Job’. It made me reflect on how very lucky I am to be farming and doing a job I love. One of the questions I was asked was how I came to be a farmer? I explained that I started work after leaving school, with a major local employer, the Dounreay Atomic Energy Authority. Very quickly I realised that there were people in the world who did not enjoy their work. From the start it was an alien environment from what I had been used to in growing up on a hill farm. My short time at Dounreay gave me enough impetus to go to agricultural college. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Auchencruive but I am also glad to have experienced a job other than farming, even if it wasn't for me. Lack of job satisfaction or enthusiasm are words that could not be applied to the group of shepherds who I joined last weekend, for the annual ‘North Tup Tour’ of flocks of North Country Hill Cheviots bound for the October sales in Lairg and Dingwall. I was a bit of a lightweight as I only managed one twelve hour shift and missed out on the North West section done on the previous day. There were many impressive tups on show, giving plenty opportunities for even the most discerning and hard to please shepherds from throughout the country to obtain top quality new bloodlines for their flocks. Through the course of the day I took pictures of every group of tups that I visited and also of the countryside we drove through. I put it all together on a slideshow along with music from a great young Scottish band called Heron Valley. In the first twenty four hours of posting onto FaceBook it had been viewed five and half thousand times and shared by forty eight different people. I think I may have overdone some of the tourist shots as one of the comments left was that the North Coast 500 could be renamed North Country Cheviot 500. Ultimately flock masters in the north have to work that wee bit harder to persuade potential buyers of their stock, that the long trip to the North Highlands, historically the home of the North Country Cheviot breed, is well worthwhile.