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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.

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.”

Angus & The Mearns

U-turn over controversial South Esk salmon fishing extension

February 5 2013

A controversial Scottish Government decision to extend salmon netting in the South Esk area has been reversed. However Scotland’s largest salmon netting company, which has been at the centre of the issue, said it has “no issues” and “fully accepts” the U-turn. In August, ministers granted Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd a three-year licence to net salmon at its coastal stations south of Montrose for two weeks in September. This has now been revoked. One of the firm’s directors, George Pullar, told The Courier: “We fully accept the decision of the Scottish Government to revoke the licence on the basis that the research was no longer required as part of the South Esk Project. “We understood that the nature of the licence was that it could be revoked at any time and, therefore, have no issues with the decision.” The extension was to compensate the fishery for disruption caused by Marine Scotland Science’s access “to fish and genetic samples during the commercial fishery season” for tagging research. As the netting season ends on August 31 the government’s decision came in for criticism from anglers and from some conservation bodies. The Esk District Salmon Fisheries Board sought a judicial review of the decision to grant the licence, due to be heard this month. Former board chairman Hughie Campbell Adamson was head of the body when the review was sought. He said: “The Scottish Government’s capitulation, together with its undertaking to pay the board’s costs, vindicates entirely the EDSFB’s decision to go for judicial review. “I hope that we can all now move on and never again allow politics and prejudice to jeopardise wild salmon conservation. “The latter must take priority whether it is in the context of salmon netting on the east coast or the unsustainable increase in salmon farming on the west coast. “I would especially like to thank the Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) and the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board for their invaluable support.” The River South Esk is a Special Area of Conservation for Atlantic salmon. Conservationists argue the district’s netting operations are closely linked to salmon numbers, not only in the South and North Esks but also in the Tay. Esk Rivers and Fisheries Trust chairman Tom Sampson said: “The Government’s reversal of its decision is indeed welcome. “No increased exploitation of salmon, in the context of today’s limited marine survival levels, can be justified.”


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.

Angus & The Mearns

Usan Salmon Fisheries director accuses Esk board of having ‘a malicious fixation with driving us out of business’

August 15 2012

The director of Angus-based Usan Salmon Fisheries has hit back after the company found itself drawn into a political row. George Pullar accused the Esk District Salmon Fishery Board of having a ''malicious fixation'' with driving his firm out of business. Mr Pullar was speaking to The Courier after the fishery board condemned the Scottish Government's decision to give Usan an additional 14 days to catch fish. Hugh Campbell Adamson, chairman of the fishery board, said extending the season was ''recklessly irresponsible'' and described the move as making ''no sense at all'' in terms of conservation. Usan Salmon Fisheries will be allowed to net salmon between September 1 and 14, after the end of the statutory netting season on August 31, for three years from 2012. The reason for the extension had been stated as ''to compensate the fishery for disruption'' caused by Marine Scotland Science having ''access to fish and genetic samples during the commercial fishery season'' for tagging research purposes. Mr Pullar said: ''We are disgusted and outraged at the latest statement issued by the Esk Board. This represents the latest in a long line of baseless persecutory attacks on our long-established Scottish business. ''It is quite clear that after eight years of haphazard mismanagement by the Esk Board, the Scottish Government has stepped in to introduce a science-based programme to explore salmon stock status within the district and address knowledge gaps, where these exist. ''We welcome that and believe all of those involved in the management of wild salmon should regard this as positive. ''Rather than acting objectively and considering all pertinent factors, the extent of the Esk Board's suggestions for action appears to be to limit the operation of our legal net fishery, stemming from a malicious fixation with driving us out of business.'' Mr Campbell Adamson said the government is allowing Usan to kill up to 1,000 more salmon with a potential gross value of some £50,000. He said: ''Scottish Government's approach to salmon conservation is woefully inconsistent. It regularly exhorts fishery boards and anglers to reduce exploitation through catch and release. ''This advice is being heeded on the River South Esk, where in 2011 anglers caught just 672 salmon, of which well over half were safely released back into the water. ''In contrast, Usan's nets in the South Esk district killed 6,500 salmon last year. It beggars belief that the netting season is now being lengthened.'' However, Mr Pullar said both the Esk Board and the angling lobby have run a concerted campaign over many years aimed at destroying their business and the reputation of legal coastal salmon netting in Scotland. He added: ''We have a proven track record of proactively engaging in salmon conservation measures where these are necessary.'' A spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said it was fully committed to salmon conservation. She said no licence would have been granted had there been evidence it would have a detrimental impact on stocks.

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.

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

Compulsory tagging scheme could be brought in to protect Scotland’s dwindling salmon stocks

December 9 2014

Compulsory carcass tagging of every wild salmon killed in Scotland could be in place as soon as 2016. The plan is part of a Scottish Government consultation which will move forward early in the new year and could place a blanket ban on killing fish except under licence. Sporting and commercial interests have pledged to participate fully in the consultation, which may move forward against the backdrop of Scotland’s worst salmon catch on the nation’s rivers for 60 years. The proposed steps would effectively introduce compulsory catch and release in the rod fishery sector, which already stands at 80% across the season. Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) chairman Hugh Campbell Adamson said: “We warmly welcome this bold move by Scottish Government. “This announcement signals an acknowledgment and confirmation by government that our wild salmon stocks are under considerable pressure and that they need as much protection as possible from indiscriminate killing. “If this proposal is adopted and a licensing system is introduced in 2016, it will go a very considerable way towards ensuring that Scotland honours its international conservation obligations, particularly under the NASCO treaty.” George Pullar of the family-owned Usan Salmon Fisheries, Scotland’s largest netting company, said: “The main thing is that we want to engage with the process so that there is a reasonable outcome for all parties. “We all want a sustainable fishery for the future for all sides, both rods and nets,” said Mr Pullar of the Montrose firm. The sporting and commercial interests have consistently challenged each other over the conservation question, with claim and counter-claim over the impact on stocks. Environment minister Aileen McLeod said: “Salmon is a protected species under the Habitats Directive and we need to ensure that any killing is sustainable. “Greater protection and enhancement of our stocks will enable us to maximise the socio-economic benefits that flow from them.” “The detail of our proposal will be set out in the consultation paper but we intend that carcass tagging for any salmon killed will form part of the package of measures.” WORST YEAR SINCE 1950S? There are concerns Scotland could be heading for its worst salmon year since the 1950s. A dry early summer, August floods and warmer temperatures in Atlantic breeding grounds are being blamed as contributing to poor catch records which experts fear could fall well below 50,000 a drop of more than 15,000 from the previous season, which was also the worst for a decade. Salmon and Trout Association (Scotland) director Andrew Graham Stewart said 2014 had been an “annus horribilis” on the nation’s rivers. Official figures will be released in the spring on the total rod catch across the year, revealing where the tally will sit against the 2013 figure of 66,387 and a five-year average of 84,500. Dr David Summers of the Tay District Salmon Fisheries Board said: “In terms of July, there hasn’t been as bad a month since the 1950s.” The bleak picture is not confined to Scotland, with reports of similar difficulties in Norway and North America. Sport fishing is worth well in excess of £100 million to the Scottish economy each year and supports thousands of jobs.