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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

Courier kayak appeal pays off

September 19 2013

A Tayside adventurer has been reunited with a “stolen” kayak used on a mission to Siberia, thanks to The Courier. Mike Bartle, 53, from Carnoustie, launched a public appeal for information last week after his custom-built 22ft double sea kayak was taken from Westhaven beach. It has now emerged that the historic vessel, which he paddled on ground-breaking missions to Russia and Greenland, was taken by a local man keen to learn the sport in the mistaken belief it was unwanted. Mike said he was delighted to have the boat back and has even offered to take the man on kayaking lessons. He added: “I was contacted on Friday by a gentleman who had seen the article and realised that the kayak he had found on the beach was not discarded. “He had inquired to ownership at the time as he was very keen to introduce his family to kayaking. “He was particularly keen to return it and was genuinely apologetic for any misunderstanding or anxiety caused. “Learning about the kayak’s special history and sentimental ownership led to a discussion, resulting in me offering, when the weather permits, to help him fulfil this aspiration to kayak.” The green Aleut double sea kayak cost £2,000 when it was specially constructed for missions to Taymyr Peninsula, Siberia, and Cape Farewell, Greenland. Carnoustie coastguard volunteer Mike was part of the first European missions to both areas in the late 1980s and mid-1990s. Police Scotland included the “theft” of the kayak in its crime appeals last week after the family reported it missing. Mike’s wife Gillian, 41, also issued a plea on the Our Carnoustie Facebook page for its safe return. “Many thanks for The Courier and Police Scotland’s support in helping the safe return of my kayak,” Mike said. “My family and I are thrilled.”

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

Body of second Irishman found after Ecuador kayaking accident

January 23 2018

The body of a missing Irishman has been found in central Ecuador following a kayaking accident. David Higgins, 26, died after getting into difficulty during a flash flood on the Abanico river, in the south-east of the country. The Kerry native, who lived in Galway, had been kayaking with 19-year-old Alex McGourty, from Sligo, whose body was discovered shortly after the incident, and three other men. Two have been found safe, but one remains missing. US kayaker Jeremiath Stewart was rescued on Saturday, while Ecuadorian Joaquin Meneses was recovered two days later, on Monday. The World Class Kayak Academy in Washington posted a photograph of Mr Meneses on Facebook and said he was safe. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.11'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));After what has been an unbelievably tragic few days, words can't describe what it feels like to see this photo. WCA alum…Posted by World Class Kayak Academy on Monday, January 22, 2018 The post said: “After what has been an unbelievably tragic few days, words can’t describe what it feels to see this photo. “WCA alum Joaquin Meneses, after missing for two days in the Ecuadorian jungle near the town of Macas, has been found and is safe. The entire community is in our hearts and minds.” The fifth member of the group, Englishman Adam Vaughen, is still missing. The team was caught by a flash flood in a very remote part of Ecuador. Mr Higgins’s body was found at 5pm local time on the banks of the Upano river, about 18.5 miles (30km) south of the Abanico river, the Morona Santiago local government said. Just a few weeks ago Mr Higgins told friends that, while he enjoyed travelling, he missed home. At new year, he wrote on Facebook: “Travelling is great, but Snapchat friends and Facebook memories are determined to remind me of the opportunity cost …. I miss the MOTHERLAND.” Tributes were paid to Mr McGourty on Monday, with friends describing him as an “absolute gentleman” and an “outstanding young man” who had “the world at his feet”. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = 'https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.11'; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of club member and trainee-instructor Alex McGourty. Alex tragically…Posted by Sligo Kayak Club on Sunday, January 21, 2018 Sligo Kayak Club, where he was a trainee instructor, said he “died while fulfilling his dreams, kayaking in Ecuador”. In a post on Facebook, the club said it believed the whole team had been caught by a flash flood. It added: “It is with profound sadness we announce the passing of club member and trainee instructor Alex McGourty. “Alex tragically died while fulfilling his dreams, kayaking in Ecuador.” Barry Mottershead wrote: “He was a solid guy, raised well, kind and hard working. His energy for life was infectious and it’s sad to see him gone too soon, but on the up side he spent his life and particularly the last few years living the dream, something we can all aspire to. RIP brother.” Martin Duffy said: “Very very sad news – Alex was a truly outstanding young man – a credit to his parents and himself and a huge loss to the paddling community – RIP Alex you will be missed.” Ursula Gilrane wrote: “Such a tragic loss of a young life. What a brave and courageous young man.” The Department of Foreign Affairs in Ireland said it was aware of both cases and that consular assistance was being provided. (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 Michelle Devane, Press Association'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension2', '3467d0b6-a9cd-4a40-9b3e-babd44e3e9b1'); ga('pacontentapi.set', 'dimension3', 'paservice:news,paservice:news:ireland,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': 'Body of second Irishman found after Ecuador kayaking accident'});

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

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.

Perth & Kinross

Culinary dimension added to Perth Show

July 28 2016

For more than 150 years Perth Show has been a popular, once a year meeting point for the people of the city and the farming community. The show – now the third largest of its type in Scotland – remains as always a showcase for champion livestock but this year holds a much wider appeal for visitors. To be held on Friday and Saturday August 5 and 6 on the South Inch, throughout the two days, trade stands, sideshows, entertainment, activities, music and parades all add to the vibrancy of the show along with a new culinary direction. “For the first time, Perth Show is set to feature a cookery theatre and food and drink marquee,” said show secretary Neil Forbes. “This will bring a new and popular dimension to the visitor attraction. “Perth Show 2016 is also delighted to welcome Perthshire On A Plate (POAP) – a major food festival, celebrating the very best in local produce and culinary talent. “Organised by Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, the two-day festival will run as part of the show and feature celebrity and local chefs, demonstrations and tastings, book signings, food and drink related trade stands, fun-filled activities for ‘kitchen kids’ and a large dining area and pop-up restaurants in a double celebration of food and farming.” Heading the celebrity chef line-up are television favourite Rosemary Shrager (Friday) and spice king Tony Singh (Saturday), backed by a host of talented local chefs including Graeme Pallister (63 Tay Street) and Grant MacNicol (Fonab Castle). The cookery theatre, supported by Quality Meat Scotland, will also stage a fun cookery challenge between students from Perth College and the ladies of the SWI. A range of pop-up restaurants featuring taster dishes from some of the area’s best known eating places will allow visitors to sample local produce as they relax in the show’s new POAP dining area. “We’re trying to create a wide and varied programme of entertainment,” said Mr Forbes. “Late afternoon on Friday will see the It’s A Knockout  challenge with teams from businesses throughout Perth and Perthshire competing against each other. “And the first day’s programme will end with a beer, wine and spirit festival where teams can celebrate their achievements and visitors can sample a wide range of locally produced drinks.” This year will also see the reintroduction of showjumping at Perth Show on the Saturday afternoon.

Perth & Kinross

Solved Irish paddlers explain the mystery of the empty kayak

November 25 2014

At first glance a case fit for the Famous Five, the mystery of the empty kayak has been ‘solved’ by a group of friends from Dublin. The abandoned craft was spotted being tossed around the fast-flowing waters of the River Braan at the Hermitage woodlands in Perthshire on Thursday afternoon. With no one in sight, its presence left water rescue experts faced with a tricky investigation as they attempted to discover whether its owner was lost in the rapids. Scottish Fire and Rescue crews did not discover anyone in difficulty, and eventually described the incident as a “well-intentioned” false alarm. After spotting the story in The Courier, a group of water-sports enthusiasts came forward to claim the kayak, bringing the mystery to an end. The boat was separated from its paddler 61-year-old John Stanley from Dublin the previous day after he got into difficulties. Friend James O’Keeff revealed that John emerged “safe and unhurt” from the rapid known by paddlers as ‘the Splitter’. “John and I had travelled from Dublin to Glenmore Lodge, the national outdoor centre in the Cairngorms, for a five-day kayaking tour of the grand rivers of Scotland,” he said. “We were part of a group of four on the river that day joined by Keith Miller from Norwich and respected mountain and river guide Iain Murray, who was a great ambassador for Scottish boating. “John got separated from his kayak. Though we did locate it, we thought it was in too dangerous a position to attempt to retrieve it. “He and I thoroughly enjoyed our week in Scotland and are now safely back in Dublin, tired and happy.” Perthshire is renowned for the quality and challenge of its white water. The rapids on the Tay at Grandtully in Highland Perthshire are among the best known, with competitons and regular kayaking and rafting outings. Equally challenging is the River Braan at the Hermitage, with the stretch between the Rumbling Bridge and the Black Linn waterfall a fine prospect for hardy paddlers like the visiting Dubliners.

Perth & Kinross

Athletes battle challenging weather to complete Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon

July 11 2016

The 16th annual Artemis Great Kindrochit Quadrathlon pushed entrants to their limits yesterday with challenging conditions on the course. A total of 231 participants faced the elements to take on the route, which consisted of swimming, running, kayaking and cycling – before participants were challenged to chop a watermelon in half with a claymore sword once they got to the finish line. The event comprised a 24km run over seven peaks, including a total of 2,500m ascent, a 1.35km swim across Loch Tay, an 11km kayk crossing; and a 54km bike ride all in the atmospheric highland landscape. This year’s winners – Sean McFarlane and Drew Shackney, Team Craft – completed the course in eight hours fifty-one minutes, while the fastest runners-up – Paul Daccus and Stuart Gregory, or Third Time Unlucky – were hot on their heels, at eight hours fifty-four minutes. Despite open water temperatures of just 14 degrees Celsius, one participant set a new event record for the swim section, crossing the loch in just 17 minutes and fifty-one seconds. Fastest female team Taxi for Two, Arabella Connell and Clare Spurway, came in at 11 hours and forty-six minutes. Founder of WildFox Events David Fox-Pitt said: “It is due to excellent organisation, stunning surrounds and the charities involved that participants keep coming back year after year. Thanks to the sponsorship of Artemis, all money raised by Quadrathletes will support the excellent work done by Mercy Corps and Mary’s Meals.” The night ended with fireworks and a ceilidh, led by live band Heid. The event hopes to raise around £200,000 to be split between the event’s charity partners, Mercy Corps and Mary’s Meals.

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