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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...


Company ‘extremely upset’ by chairlift accident at Lecht Ski Centre

February 13 2013

The company which runs a ski resort where five children and an adult were injured when a chairlift derailed has said it is "extremely upset" by the incident. In a statement published on its Facebook page, Lecht 2090 said it did not know what caused Tuesday’s malfunction at Corgarff in Aberdeenshire. An investigation is due to take place by the Health and Safety Executive. The chairlift, which is the only lift of its kind at the Lecht Ski Centre resort, is expected to remain closed for some time. The statement read: "Some of you might know there was an incident with the chairlift this afternoon (Tuesday) where six people were injured. We are extremely upset that these people have been injured but as yet we don't [know] the cause of the problem with the chair. "The first response was to look after the injured. The rest of the skiers were then taken off the chairlift by the two Lecht teams within around one hour and 20 minutes. A major incident was called by the company to alert all the other emergency agents who reacted quickly. The chair will be out of action for a while but the rest of the lifts will be working as normal." A number of comments were left on the site by people who said they had been present at the time of the accident, and they praised the work of rescue teams and the emergency services during the incident. Five children and an adult were taken to hospital after the incident. Three of the injured group were airlifted from the slope while the others were taken by ambulance. None were thought to be in a life-threatening condition. Grampian Police, fire service and mountain rescue teams assisted with the rescue. A force spokesman said: "Six people five children and one adult have been taken to hospital with what are believed to be non life-threatening injuries. "Grampian Police and Braemar Mountain Rescue Teams were mobilised to assist with the rescue of those stranded. "Units from Grampian Fire and Rescue Service, the Scottish Ambulance Service and local doctors were also called to the scene to assist. "Inquiries are ongoing to establish the cause of the incident." A spokeswoman for the Lecht centre said 36 other people who were stranded on the chairlift were rescued after the accident. She said: "All the casualties are in a stable condition, three were taken to hospital by helicopter and three by ambulance. "Staff evacuated 36 people that were stuck on the other chairlifts and everyone was off the slope within an hour and 40 minutes. "We don't know the reason for the accident, however the Health and Safety Executive and the Lecht will be investigating the cause." For further coverage, see Wednesday’s Courier or try our digital edition.

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.


Injuries reported after lift derailment at Lecht ski centre

February 12 2013

Emergency services have been called to the Lecht ski centre after skiers were injured when a lift derailed. It is thought around 10 people have been hurt, and more were stranded on chairlifts. A police spokesman said: "A small number of people are believed to be injured and more are stranded on chairlifts after the incident, which happened around 3.25pm. "There are no details on the extent of injuries as yet, but the focus is currently on evacuating those injured and rescuing those who remain on the chairlift. "Grampian Police Mountain Rescue Team has been mobilised and is en-route to the centre to assist with the rescue of those stranded. "Units from Grampian Fire and Rescue Service and the Scottish Ambulance Service have been called to the scene to assist." For more on this story, see Wednesday's Courier or try our digital edition.

Perth & Kinross

MSP backs Perth for Scottish fire service headquarters

February 6 2013

Perth would be the best option for a national headquarters for the new Fire and Rescue Service for Scotland, according to MSP Murdo Fraser. He spoke up in favour of Perth after it was revealed Aberdeen has been chosen for the northern hub of the service. The hub will incorporate the old Grampian, Tayside and Highlands fire service areas when all eight merge at the start of April. How it will be structured is still being decided, although it is hoped there will be no compulsory redundancies as a result. Mr Fraser, MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, said of the news: “Aberdeen is the ideal location for the northern hub of the service, and I believe that Perth is the perfect site for the main Scottish headquarters. “In Parliament I have promoted Perth’s case for being awarded the permanent headquarters of the fire and rescue service as the city is currently home to its interim base. “With its central location in Scotland, its good transport links and its affordable accommodation, Perth is the ideal place to host the national fire and rescue service headquarters.” “In terms of efficiency and service continuity, it makes a lot of sense to establish the permanent base in the same location as the interim base.”


Investigation into golden eagle pesticide death in Strathdon

May 6 2011

Tayside Police have joined their Grampian counterparts and wildlife experts in probing the death of a golden eagle on an Aberdeenshire estate. Grampian and Tayside officers and the Scottish Government rural payments and inspections directorate carried out a probe at Glenbuchat Estate, Strathdon, over the alleged use of illegal pesticides. The inquiry began after a dead satellite-tagged golden eagle was found on that estate on March 29, and it tested positive for banned pesticide Carbofuran. The operation also involved the National Wildlife Crime Unit, RSPB and SSPCA. Wildlife crime officer Constable Dave MacKinnon said, "We are always very concerned when illegal pesticides are used in our countryside for the poisoning of birds of prey but I am particularly disappointed that this incident has resulted in the death of a young golden eagle. "Our efforts in Scotland and Grampian to eradicate this type of crime over a number of years have been challenging and clearly, with this most recent incident, we still have some way to go." He added, "Articles have been removed from the estate and are being sent for analysis. "Nobody has been charged in connection with this incident or other offences but inquiries are continuing." Bob Elliot, head of investigations at RSPB Scotland, said, "This highly toxic chemical, which it is illegal to possess, was found to have poisoned this golden eagle. "Poisoned baits lying out in the countryside are indiscriminate, and threaten both pets, domestic livestock and even humans." He added, "That such potentially lethal activity continues in this day and age is an outrage, and threatens the international reputation of Scotland as a haven for wildlife and iconic species. "Despite all agencies and partners working together to eradicate these crimes, we do not seem to be witnessing any reduction in this type of offence being committed against our world-renowned wildlife and natural heritage."


Days before Fettercairn fire body can be identified

January 18 2011

Grampian Police have said it could be several more days before human remains found in the burnt-out rubble of a Mearns cottage can be officially identified. The body found at Hillhead Cottage, Balfour, near Fettercairn, is thought to be that of 78-year-old Jane Murray, who lived there alone. An appeal from officers to ascertain Mrs Murray's whereabouts at the time of the fire on Wednesday night has not proved fruitful. A joint team from Grampian Police and Grampian Fire and Rescue discovered the body after three days of searching. The entire roof of the building caved in following the fire which gutted the cottage. The pensioner's family have been informed. A police appeal launched on Saturday to locate a close friend of Mrs Murray's named 'Greg' or 'Craig' has not proved successful so far. The man is believed to be over 70 years old and from the Aberdeen area. It is understood Mrs Murray regularly visited the man and he may still be unaware of the fire. Investigators confirmed that no evidence has been uncovered to suggest any criminality in terms of the cause of the fire, which is still unknown. Anyone with any information is asked to contact 0845 600 5700.


Absence from Tayside Fire and Rescue up 21% this year

February 16 2011

Tayside Fire and Rescue has recorded an increase in its 12-month absenteeism rate. Latest figures obtained through Audit Scotland reveal 2624 days were written off by the emergency service due to illness and "modified duties" during 2009-10 a 21% increase on the previous year. Out of the seven other fire and rescue services covering the country Tayside had the second-highest percentage increase after Dumfries and Galloway. Tayside Fire and Rescue group manager Rab Middlemiss said, "Sickness absence is managed through our attendance management policy and procedure. "Support mechanisms are put in place to facilitate an early return to work either on full duties or on modified duties. The introduction of the Fit Note has been of benefit to this process." Grampian Fire and Rescue experienced a 22.7% decrease in the number of days lost to absences. Mr Middlemiss was unable to say why there was such a difference. Ronnie Costello of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) said he is concerned by the numbers of days the service is losing but believes the figure will drop over 2011. "I know that sickness rates for this year are already low because of the sick note that doctors now hand out," he said. "It means those who would normally be signed off for a given period are now asked what other tasks they can do in their place of work." The number of lost days in Fife fell by 10.6% and in the Highlands and Islands they fell by 14.8%. The only other fire services recording a rise were Strathclyde and Lothian and Borders, with 1.2% and 1.6% respectively. Despite the increase among Tayside fire officers, the total number of days lost over the same period for all other staff directly employed by the brigade actually fell from 1036 to 766 a drop of 26.1%.


Fire breaks out at derelict building in Rosyth

September 5 2015

A fire has broken out at a derelict building in Rosyth. The fire, in the empty Sailor’s Rest near the dockyard, was reported to the emergency services at around 7am on Saturday. Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service are still on the scene and road closures are in place at Ferrytoll Road, east of the junction of Grampian Road. There is no access to Ferrytoll Road from Castle Road. Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Police Scotland on 101.