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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…

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

Farming news

Killin Show brightens wet and cold day

August 19 2014

The guys and gals up Killin way are made of hardy stuff. Their attitude to a cold and wet show morning on Saturday was simply to ignore the weather and get on with it. The fancy dress and vintage tractor parade through the village led by the Comrie Pipe Band is a traditional way of opening the Killin Show. By the time the participants had reached the Breadalbane Park every one of them, including a well-costumed Wild West team, was truly ‘drookit’ but the enthusiasm remained. At least their perseverance was partly rewarded later in the day when the drizzle slackened and the sun shone from time to time. The livestock judging was similarly unaffected by the weather. Cattle judge Neil McCorkindale, Scammadale, Oban, said he had a good top end to sort out in his search for a champion. Eventually the tap on the rump went to a mid-March-born heifer calf shown by Hamish McDiarmid of McDiarmid Bros, Ben Lawers, north Tayside. This well-grown calf, which will likely be sold in Forfar next spring, is by the Limousin sire Oldhouse Dougal and out of a home-bred Limousin cross cow. The reserve was an April-born bullock calf from Robert Waugh, Croftintygan, north Tayside. Again this was Limousin sired, this time by a Homebyres-bred bull and out of a home-bred Limousin cross cow which was first in its class on Saturday. Mr McCorkindale said: “The champion is a stylish well-turned out calf. The reserve is a bullock calf with a lot of potential.” The overall show champion of champions at Killin on Saturday was from the cross sheep section. A and J Anderson, Tullochcan, Ardeonaig, took the honours with an almost pure Texel gimmer well-shown by Donna McKenzie. This one is by Cowal Shrek and out of a home-bred Texel cross ewe. Tullochcan runs 200 Texel cross ewes and 1,200 Blackfaces. Cross sheep judge Roddy Thomson, of Pitnacree, Strathtay, said: “This is a very correct gimmer smart and strong.” His fellow champion of champions judges Mr McCorkindale and Blackface judge Ewan Bennie, of Merkins, Alexandria, obviously agreed as there was no need for an umpire. Reserve in the cross sheep was a Texel cross ewe lamb from Peter McDiarmid, Shenlarich, north Tayside. The largest judging task of the day fell to Mr Bennie with, as is usual for Killin, very large classes of Blackfaces all from the confined area of Killin and its surrounding parishes. His champion was a ewe lamb from Colin Little, Glen Ample, Lochearnhead. Born at the end of April the lamb is by a £3,500 Nunnerie sire which was last year’s Killin champion of champions and out of a ewe by a £1,600 Pole sire. The reserve, which according to Mr Bennie was “not far behind” was a shearling ram from Iain McLarty, Glen Tarken, Loch Earn. Intended for use at home rather than for sale this one is by a £2,100 Ben Lomond and out of ewe by a £2,000 Auldhouseburn. Cattle results were as follow. Bullock calf by Limousin (2013 born): McDiarmid Bros, Ben Lawers. Heifer calf by Limousin (2013 born): Ben Lawers. Bullock calf by Limousin (2014 born): Croftintygan. Heifer calf by Limousin (2014 born: Ben Lawers. Bullock calf any other sire: Peter Reilly, Tullochmhor, Balquhidder. Heifer with calf at foot: Ben Lawers. Cow with calf at foot: Croftintygan. Sheep results were as follow. Cross Pair of cross lambs out of a Blackface ewe: Tullochmor. Pair of cross lambs out of a cross ewe: Shenlarich. Ewe: Shenlarich.Gimmer: Tullochcan. Ewe lamb: Shenlarich. Mule ewe lamb: Tullochmor. Tup: Succoth. Blackface Shepherd’s class: Shenlarich. Naturally shown ewe and lambs: Mrs Taylor, Braes of Ardeonaig. Ram three years and over: Glen Tarken. Ram two years and over: Glen Ample. Shearling ram: Glen Tarken. Ewe three years and over: Glen Ample. Ewe two years and over: Glen Tarken. Gimmer: Meggernie Estate, Glen Lyon. Ram lamb: Glen Tarken. Ewe lamb: Glen Ample. Pair of wether lambs: K Taylor, Dall, Ardeonaig. Young handler: under-11 Iona Little; 11-18 Lewis McKenzie. Female group of three: Glen Ample. Male group of three: Glen Tarken. Best wooled sheep: Tullochmhor. Fleeces Blackface mattress: Tullochmhor (reserve champion). Blackface fine: Braes of Ardeonaig (champion). Natural colour: Braes of Ardeonaig. Fine medium: Succoth.

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.

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

Veteran walkers praised for helping to avert Glen Doll tragedy

February 26 2013

A pair of good Samaritans have been praised for their potentially life-saving assistance to two walkers following drama on Tayside’s hills. In a busy weekend for civilian and police mountain rescue teams, three people were airlifted off the snowy terrain of glens in Angus and Perthshire. Thankfully, all avoided becoming a further addition to the tragic winter toll which has seen 11 people die on Scotland’s mountains in just two months. It has now emerged that two ill-equipped Glen Doll walkers were helped by experienced winter climbers who turned back to give them assistance after hearing the pair’s cries for help, and the leader of Tayside Mountain Rescue Team has said the lucky escape should serve as yet another warning of the deadly risk people face if they venture out unprepared. The two walkers, in their twenties, were in the Corrie Sharroch area of the glen around 4pm when their shouts were heard by others and the alarm was raised, sparking the callout of the civilian and police rescue teams and helicopter 137 from RAF Lossiemouth. TMRT leader Stuart Johnston said: “The two men had earlier bumped into a couple of climbers and they returned to the location to provide assistance to the walkers, who had taken a small slide down a snow slope. “The two climbers did a very good job. Weather conditions were considered to be very good but unfortunately the two walkers had no ice axe or crampons. For anyone going into winter conditions you have to ensure that you have the skills and equipment to tackle that terrain. “Unfortunately they were inadequately equipped, which was partly responsible for the situation they found themselves in,” he added. “The climbers were very familiar with the Glen Doll area and had the skills and ability to go back to help the two men, so we would express our thanks to them.” Mr Johnston said it was surprising that people would still choose to head to the wintry hills without proper kit or training. “The strong messages coming out from bodies such as the Mountaineering Council of Scotland and others could not be more obvious,” he added. Just a couple of hours after the Glen Doll incident, volunteer TMRT members and police team counterparts were then called to the Glas Maol area of Glenshee, where a helicopter from RAF Boulmer lifted a lost skier to safety. The 23-year-old became disorientated but Mr Johnston said he did everything right to increase his chances of a textbook outcome. “He remained calm and called for help. We were on the hills searching for the young man when we saw his torchlight and were able to direct the helicopter in. The skier was exceptionally well equipped and had all the survival equipment we would hope to see.”

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Angus & The Mearns

Glen Clova beer festival hits the right notes

July 24 2016

Glen Clova Hotel rolled out the barrel for thirsty punters at its annual music and ale festival. The family-orientated event has become one of the most popular on the calendar in Angus and this year was again no different. The festival not only showcased some of the country’s finest real ales and ciders – all served up in a giant marquee – but it also featured a great line-up of bands covering a wide range of musical tastes. Breakfast rolls were also served for revellers who were camping for the weekend against the stunning backdrop of Glen Doll while a local spit roast was served up on Sunday. The event got underway on Friday night with performances by Sons of the Soil and Kirriemuir’s own Restless Natives. The highlights of Saturday’s line-up included Miami Vince, Backlash, Shackleton Banjos and Heidrum. The weekend concluded with Cover Daddy, George Crawl, Colin Clyne and Coaltown Daisies on Sunday’s bill. The audience was mainly from Forfar, Kirriemuir and Dundee, but people did come from further afield to enjoy the performances. A beer token system was again in place at the festival which is set against the stunning backdrop of the Clova hills.


Get your hiking boots on for the Angus Glens Walking Festival

May 17 2016

Ahead of the Angus Glens Walking Festival, Gayle Ritchie goes for a hike. Looking down Corrie Fee into Glen Doll, the views are truly dramatic. A wild amphitheatre of rocky landscape formed by glaciers and ice, it’s a haven for the plants, birds and animals equipped to deal with the challenges of this harsh mountain environment. “If we’re lucky, we might spot a golden eagle soaring overhead,” says Angus Alive ranger Lisa King. We’ve hiked up to this special place to get a flavour of one of the walks on offer during the Angus Glens Walking Festival. Taking place from June 2 to 5, the festival covers 18 walks, designed to appeal to all levels of ability, with a choice of striking locations. Now in its 14th year, the walks are led by local mountain leaders and Countryside  Adventure Rangers who, like Lisa, have a wealth of knowledge of the Glens. © DC ThomsonGayle and Lisa check out a sign in Glen Doll. Ahead of the festival, Lisa is keen to stress that walks range from educational “wee potters” to more strenuous yomps. Today we’re taking our time to drink in the scenery and explore the flora and fauna of the area. Corrie Fee, a National Nature Reserve, is breathtaking. A good path climbs gently to a viewpoint, and there’s the option of extending the route to climb up the back of the corrie to a waterfall, up onto the Cairngorm plateau and onward to the Munros of Mayar and Dreish. Lisa says that while many people are obsessed with looking for “the big five” – red deer, golden eagle, seal, otter, red squirrel – as well as rare upland birds such as dotterel and golden plover, she’s fascinated by the little things. “There are so many plants and animals that people don’t know about,” she says. “Here you’ll find blaeberry bumblebees, strange looking beetles and rare alpine plants that cling to rocks. There’s wood anemone growing high up in Corrie Fee, a place where there are no trees. It’s a good indicator of ancient woodland, so did trees once grow here?” © DC ThomsonGayle at the mouth of Corrie Fee. Lisa’s main ambition is to find a blaeberry bumblebee and when we head back down the glen, she spies one flying round a blaeberry bush. “That’s the first one I’ve seen this year,” she whoops. “They’re fairly scarce but this is its ideal habitat. They’re disappearing in England because of global warming.” We also spot trout swimming in a burn meandering through the glen and hear the distinctive call of a cuckoo. There’s a chance of seeing water vole, which in 2003, had been wiped out by mink in the reserve. The unpolluted burn is a perfect habitat for the creatures and encouraging their return is a key conservation goal. Walking down into Glen Doll, Lisa takes me on a circular walk below the Dounalt crags and then crosses the White Water Burn, stopping for a picnic just as the route links up with Jock’s Road. If we carried on to walk the 14 miles of Jock’s Road, the oldest Right of Way in Scotland, we’d end up in Auchallater by Braemar. “The great thing about the festival is that people can walk Jock’s Road, which is a linear route from Braemar to Glen Doll, without wondering how they’re going to get back,” says Lisa. “They’ll get a bus from Kirriemuir to the start point at Auchallater, walk to stunning Loch Callater, climb up to a steep plateau and finish with a lovely long descent into Glen Doll, and a well-earned refreshment at Glen Clova Hotel!” © DC ThomsonGayle with Angus Rangers Lisa King and Hugh Bell in Glen Doll. Other linear walks include Glen Esk to Clova, Backwater Reservoir to Glen Prosen and the Minister’s Path – both described as “very strenuous” – and a four-mile “coastal crawl”. There’s also an easy walk dedicated to eagle watching in Upper Glen Clova. As we head back towards the Ranger Centre, Lisa spots another blaeberry bumblebee flying into thick vegetation on the ground. “That’s its nest,” she tells me, pointing out the tiny hole into which the bee has just flown. I’d never have had a clue. © SuppliedWalkers enjoy the Angus Glens Walking Festival in 2014. It’s been a fascinating day and a great insight into the Angus Glens Walking Festival. “Not all walks are about striding on and covering ground as fast as possible,” laughs Lisa. “You can learn a lot about wildlife from rangers if you take the time to stop and take in your surroundings. We tend to get a good mix of what I call the ‘leggit’ types, who walk very fast, and those who enjoy walks at a steady pace and talk about wildlife, history and land management.” The walks are a great way to meet like-minded people and have resulted in many lasting friendships. In fact, says Lisa, one walk resulted in a wedding! info Last year’s Angus Glens Walking Festival saw 418 people from all over the world taking part in the four-day event. This year will be the event’s 15th year and the first that has been organised by ANGUSalive. One of the most popular walks is Jock’s Road, Scotland’s oldest right of way. Want to try a Munro? The 2016 festival includes Glas Maol, Broad Cairn and Mount Keen. Most walks take a route through the Angus Glens but there is also a Coastal Crawl and the family-friendly Guzzle, 
Gargle, Goblins walk at Forfar Loch Country Park where all ages can explore other habitats and scenery. There is a small charge per person for each guided walk which includes return transport to the walk, from a base camp in Kirriemuir.This year’s festival is sponsored by the Glen Clova Hotel. Book now at www.angusglenswalkingfestival.com

Angus & The Mearns

Angus renewable energy survey slammed

June 3 2013

Campaigners against a windfarm proposed for the Angus Glens have rubbished a survey which claims “public support” in the county. The Scottish Government is considering the Nathro Hill scheme on the Careston Estate at Glen Lethnot, around six miles north west of the A90. A county-wide poll, conducted for developer Eurowind UK, claimed nearly three-quarters of those surveyed believe renewable energy should be taken seriously as an energy source, with 47% direct support for the 17-turbine project. However, campaigning group Stop Windfarm at Nathro (Swan) believes the sample size of 401 Angus residents is too small to be useful. Spokeswoman Fiona Dow said the figures are “hardly representative”. She added: “I know of no one who was contacted by them in the area near the proposed site and taking into consideration that the nearest town of Brechin alone has a population of approximately 8,000 people, 401 adults across Angus is a very small proportion. “In 2012 the population of Angus is recorded as 110,630. “Therefore 401 is a poor proportion to make claims such as ‘public support for the project is far higher than opposition,’ and that ‘55% of participants believe the location of Nathro Hill is a suitable one for a windfarm.’ “I imagine most people will not know Nathro Hill and will also be unaware that the siting of the turbines is not actually there but on top of the line of hills in front of it.” However, Facilitating Change, who carried out the poll for Eurowind, said the sample size gives a high “confidence level” of the outcome. The firm’s director Chris Whitehead said: “A survey size of 401 provides a confidence level of 95% with 5% margin of error either way across the population of Angus as whole, so we are confident this gives a good indication of Angus-wide views. “Information was given as to the location of the proposed windfarm as part of the introduction to the questions. The questions were designed to test knowledge and understanding of the specific proposal at the time of the telephone call.” Eurowind’s director Ian Lindsay added: “This survey is just the latest in a long line of studies showing public support for windfarms. “We respect the views of those who are against any windfarm development in Angus but they have to acknowledge that their position is very much a minority view.”