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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...

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.


Kezia Dugdale vows to tax the rich

April 16 2016

Scottish Labour would make taxing the rich a key priority in the next parliament, leader Kezia Dugdale has said. Ms Dugdale will focus on her party's plan to use new powers over income tax coming to Holyrood to introduce a 50p rate for top earners during a campaign visit to Rutherglen, South Lanarkshire. She will highlight analysis by think tank IPPR Scotland showing that Labour's tax plans, which also include a 1p increase to the basic rate of income tax, would raise £900 million more than the SNP by 2020/21. The Labour leader said the extra funds would be channelled towards two other key priorities for her party - investing more in education and stopping cuts to public services. Ms Dugdale will campaign with Rutherglen candidate James Kelly and local activists as they launch a new leaflet in partnership with trade unions. Speaking before the visit, she said: "Today I am outlining the three priorities that must define the next Scottish Parliament, and will guide the next Labour Scottish Government. "Those priorities are simple: Tax the rich, invest in education to grow the economy and stop the cuts to public services. "Labour will use the powers to ask the top 1% to pay the most and stop the Scottish Parliament acting as a conveyor belt for Tory austerity. "That's the positive message activists and trade unionists will be making on high streets and doorsteps all across Scotland this weekend. "Labour will set a 50p top rate of tax for those earning over £150,000 a year so we can stop the cuts and invest in education." Meanwhile Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie will join volunteers campaigning in Bridge of Allan, Stirling, and meet voters following his party's manifesto launch on Friday. The Lib Dems' flagship policy, a "penny for education" involves adding 1p to income tax for those earning more than £21,500 to raise around £500 million each year for education. Mr Rennie said: "The Scottish Liberal Democrats' manifesto is a bold and positive programme for the next five years to make Scotland the best again. "Feedback from the doorsteps is that our uplifting message for a transformational investment in education, leading the charge on boosting mental health services, guaranteeing our civil liberties and protecting the environment is translating into votes. "More Liberal Democrats will deliver positive, liberal change. We're back to our best. Now it's Scotland's turn." Elsewhere on the election trail, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson will visit the south of Scotland to highlight her party's proposals to boost business in the area. She will focus on a manifesto pledge to set up a South of Scotland Enterprise, similar to Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), to grow the economy.


Boat trips along the Tay between Perth and Dundee launched

May 12 2018

The first in a summer series of boat trips along the River Tay was officially launched on Friday. The return journeys between Perth and Broughty have been launched in a collaboration between Perth and Kinross Council and the Tay and Earn Trust. Bosses say the Tay is "the jewel in Perth's crown" and the venture is an exciting new way to make the most of one of the city's greatest assets. It follows the success of similar trips last year. The schedule has now been extended from May to July, offering passengers a fresh way to view Elcho Castle, Kinnoull Hill and other landmarks from the river. Shorter voyages, from the Fergusson Pontoon to Kinnoull Hill are also on offer, taking people under the Friarton Bridge and past the Willowgate Activity Centre before returning to Perth. The council and the trust are working in partnership with David Anderson Marine who will be providing the Broughty Ferry trips and Tay Maritime Action (Taymara). Perth and Kinross Council's environment, enterprise and infrastructure convener, councillor Angus Forbes, said the team were delighted to be able to offer the service this summer. "Qualified crews will provide safe access to the exciting River Tay marine environment, providing a memorable experience for all," he added. Perth and Kinross Provost Dennis Melloy said: “The Tay is an important and unique asset for Perth and improving access to it by offering boat trips is a great way to attract visitors to the area. “It is important that we continue to develop opportunities on the river. Having the pontoons in place is an important stage in continuing the delivery of the infrastructure to support this. “I hope that visitors and residents of Perth and Kinross will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity." Simon Clarke, chairman of the Tay and Earn Trust said: “This year's visitors will not only be able to explore the Activity Centre but also be able to sample the home made cakes at Willowgate Café. “The Willowgate destination continues to grow and is proud to be working with Perth and Kinross Council in introducing and re-introducing people to the jewel in Perth’s crown that is the River Tay." Due to the tidal nature of the river, the trip will run at different times throughout the day. Tickets start at £9 per adult and can be found at perthcity.co.uk/boating-on-the-tay.

Perth & Kinross

Perth woman accused of murdering husband is remanded

March 8 2017

A mother-of-four accused of murdering her taxi driver husband has been remanded in custody. Louisa Anderson made a second private appearance at Perth Sheriff Court on Wednesday. The 36-year-old faces allegations she killed Douglas Anderson by stabbing him on the leg with a knife or similar weapon. The attack is said to have happened at the couple’s home in Dunnock Place, Perth, in the early hours of Saturday, February 25. It is further alleged that she attacked Mr Anderson’s sister, Bernadette Anderson, in Perth’s Grill Bar on the previous day. She is alleged to have assaulted Miss Anderson in the pub on February 24 by jumping on her and pulling her hair. Anderson is further alleged to have attacked and injured Fay McKenzie in the same pub by pulling her to the ground and biting her breast. A Crown Office spokeswoman confirmed that Anderson made no plea during the brief hearing before Sheriff Lindsay Foulis. She was remanded in custody and fully committed. A date for her next appearance in court has still to be set.

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

Angus & The Mearns

Monifieth man admits ‘butting’ boy after losing temper with gang of youths

August 6 2014

An Angus man “took the law into his own hands” due to frustration with a gang of stone-throwing youths. Martin Rennie, 42, butted a 14-year-old boy after his frustrations with a group of Monifieth teenagers rose beyond his control. He appeared at Forfar Sheriff Court along with fellow Monifieth resident Bradley Anderson, 22, charged with assaulting the boy after his co-accused took him off the street “by the scruff of the neck”. Both men admitted separate charges of assault on April 28 this year. Depute fiscal Jim Eodonable said the complainer and his friend, also 14, were seen near Rennie’s Beechgrove home playing football on that date. A group of boys were seen throwing stones at Rennie’s house some time later, and Anderson had later seen the complainer coming down the street on his own. “Mr Anderson took hold of him and explained he would take him to the home of Mr Rennie,” he added. “The Crown wouldn’t suggest there was any violence there he more took him by the scruff of the neck.” The boy was shown to the sitting room on entering the house and the door was locked behind him. Rennie made his displeasure known. Mr Eodonable added: “At this point Mr Rennie butted (the boy) in the face fortunately for all, that only causes some redness.” The 42-year-old’s defence agent said: “He was aware stones had been thrown in the vicinity of the property and he was annoyed by this. He believed he had got one of the group involved. He accepts his action was completely unacceptable.” For Anderson, of Wellbank Place, his defence agent said: “I don’t think he will grace this court again.” Sheriff Gregor Murray said to Rennie: “Your actions were wholly wrong. Despite your very limited record, anyone who takes the law into their own hands can expect some form of penalty.” Sentence was deferred to September 4 for the preparation of criminal justice social work reports. To Anderson, the sheriff said: “I accept what you did to (the complainer) was an assault. That said, what you did was understandable and was only an assault technically.” Anderson’s sentence was deferred for six months for him to be of good behaviour.

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

The adoption of a new DNA test to authenticate the pedigree of all Aberdeen-Angus calves will put the breed in the vanguard of genomic technology, retiring Aberdeen-Angus Cattle Society president, Victor Wallace, told a packed annual at Stirling. The society has decided to collect blood samples using special ear tags which incorporate a small uniquely identified receptacle. As the tag is inserted soon after birth the small amount of displaced tissue and blood is captured ready for future DNA testing. Responding to criticism of the society’s decision to use only one company, Caisley, for the collection of samples, Mr Wallace insisted Caisley was the only ear tag company which had the technology to meet the society’s required specification. “We invited a number of ear tag companies to tender and some didn’t bother to reply while others couldn’t meet the spec,” said Mr Wallace. “It is a simple and inexpensive system which most breeders are finding easy to use.” The aim is to collect blood samples from all bull calves to enable the sire of all calves to be verified in the case of any uncertainty or dispute and to authenticate beef being sold as Aberdeen-Angus.” The move by the society has been welcomed by major supermarkets selling Aberdeen-Angus beef. Mr Wallace added: “This process was extensively and rigorously tested with management and council visits to the manufacturers in Germany and the completion of field trials. After this process it was brought back to council and unanimously approved. “Like all changes, there has been some resistance but I am convinced that putting the society in a position to be leading in genomic testing can only be a good one. “We should be leaders, not followers.” Mr Wallace admitted that a £34,000 re-branding exercise carried out over the past year, which included the dropping of the society’s long-established black, green and yellow colours, left room for “significant improvement”. The issue, particularly improvement to the website, would, he said, be addressed in the coming year. The decision to prop up the pension fund of chief executive, Ron McHattie, by £120,000 in four tranches was defended by new president, David Evans, who explained that it was a “catching up” operation as the funding of the pension had not been addressed for 11 years and annuity rates had halved in that time. Mr Evans, who works as a financial adviser, runs a 60-cow pedigree herd in Cleveland with his wife, Penny, and has been chairman of the society’s breed promotion committee. He is planning a series of open days throughout the country this year to promote the commercial attributes of the Aberdeen-Angus breed. “There is a huge and growing demand for certified Aberdeen-Angus beef with the active involvement of most of the leading supermarkets in the UK and registrations in the Herd Book are at a record level and continuing to increase,” said Mr Evans. “But we can’t stand still and it is important that the breed adopts all the latest technology to take the breed forward in the future.” New senior vice-president is Tom Arnott, Haymount, Kelso, while Alex Sanger, Prettycur, Montrose, was appointed junior vice-president.

Angus & The Mearns

Dundee man admits having sex with underage teenagers

April 10 2013

A Dundee man who had unlawful sex with two underage girls in Angus will be sentenced next month. Donny McKenzie, 20, of Balunie Terrace, sent Facebook friend requests to girls before asking to meet up with them. He previously pleaded guilty to repeatedly having sex with a 15-year-old girl in Arbroath between December 7 2010, and January 8 2011. McKenzie also admitted having sex with another 15-year-old girl in Arbroath on November 19 2011. He further admitted three charges of threatening or abusive behaviour, including telling one of the girls he was going to hang himself. He will be sentenced on May 21. Depute fiscal Hazel Anderson said the first girl was in a short-term relationship with him which started after a chance meeting in Arbroath. She said: “He did not mention his age at this time but asked what age she was. She replied she was 15. “The relationship continued and one night the accused spent the night at her home where they had sex. She was happy for the sexual intercourse to happen on this occasion. “They had sex on two further occasions but she stated on those occasions she felt under pressure to have sex. She subsequently changed her phone number and Facebook account to sever ties with the accused.” Ms Anderson said McKenzie met up with the second girl in Arbroath after he sent her a friend request on Facebook. She said: “The accused told her he was 19. She told him she was 15.” McKenzie met up with the girl after drinking five pints of lager and they had sex on a bench. Six days later she mentioned to McKenzie that she was with a male friend and he became “abusive and angry.” Ms Anderson said: “He sent a text message to her saying he was going to kill the male. He also said in the text that he had burst his hand open and that he was going to hang himself.” Ms Anderson said the woman was alarmed by the nature of the messages and contacted the police.

Readers' letters

April 8: Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers

April 8 2011

This morning's letters look at the River Tay beavers and wildlife management, taxation, fuel prices, and road safety in Fife. Lessons we can learn from River Tay beavers Sir,-I read with interest your article 'Call for halt to beaver damage' (April 6) regarding the acceleration of beaver damage on the lower River Earn, reported to Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) by an angler. As with other wildlife, most notably deer, whether the felled trees are viewed as damage or not is only really the concern of the landowner involved. SNH maintain that it is legal for landowners to kill or remove beavers if they deem it necessary so, officially, there is no problem here. If the landowner thinks he has a problem, SNH say he can do something about it. Others will dispute this and the legal position does require to be clarified. This is why the River Tay beavers are important. They will force us to address these issues much sooner than the official Scottish Government reintroduction of beavers into Argyll and everyone will benefit from that, whatever their views on beavers might be. There is little point in calling for a halt to the beaver damage as the Tay beavers do not read The Courier. What we need is a pragmatic approach from government to this issue which allows us to learn how these animals will interact with other land uses and provides landowners with a workable mechanism for dealing with problem situations. Ultimately, all our wildlife should be managed locally according to local circumstances and sensitivities, not by a centralised quango in Inverness. Scottish Natural Heritage are all over the place on this issue and do not have the answers. We will have to look elsewhere for those. Victor Clements.1 Crieff Road,Aberfeldy. Victorian species cull Sir,-I agree in part with Eric McVicar's letter (April 5) about culling non-indigenous species but he shows a severe lack of knowledge in some areas. For example, beavers are a native species, as are bears and wolves. The absence of these animals is solely down to Victorian bloodlust, which saw the eradication of a vast number of species worldwide simply to amuse bored aristocrats. This has left us with a red deer population held on estates causing genetic diversity issues and out of control numbers, due to the lack of natural predators. I believe he is referring to Japanese knotweed, not Japanese hogweed. If Mr McVicar is a teacher then I fear for his pupils as he seems to be giving out wrong information and failing to teach them to check their facts. (Mr) J. Phillip.3 Lyninghills,Forfar. March of indirect taxation Sir,-Your editorial (April 5) and related article on the launch of the Scottish Conservative election manifesto for Holyrood misses an important fact. The fees or graduate contribution to the sum of £4000 is for every year of study. Parents and students can do the maths. Common sense it may be for Conservatives but, for those affected, it will feel very much like indirect taxation much favoured, as many of your readers will recall, by the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s. Iain Anderson.41 West End,St Monans. Motorists need fuel transparency Sir,-We were conned in the Budget last month. The petrol companies had predicted the one penny reduction and had already upped the price by three or four pence. So is it now possible for the UK Government to do two specific things to regain some credibility? First tell the fuel retailers to instantly removed the ridiculous 0.99 they tag on at the end of their main price and, second, make it a rule to give the displayed price per gallon and not per litre. After all, cars in particular are sold with predicted miles per gallon consumption (admittedly often optimistic) not miles per litre. And if motorists were to see immediately the true cost of fuel for their car, instead of ridiculously having to multiply the litre price by 4.546 to find out, they would most certainly be more cautious with their travels and work a lot harder at reducing petrol/diesel consumption. Having been conned a few weeks ago, vehicle owners are surely entitled to some honesty now. Ian Wheeler.Springfield,Cupar. Wind farm risk to road users Sir,-I feel compelled to reply to your article regarding Fife's fatal road crashes. With 10 out of 13 fatal crashes in 2010 happening on rural roads, the most common contributory factor given in your article was failure to observe the road properly. My concerns are related to the plans submitted to Fife Council for the giant wind turbines on Clatto Hill. The road that runs adjacent to the proposed site is the C30. This rural road demands your full attention and concentration while driving in either direction. With the road being narrow, it requires even medium-sized cars to slow down or pull in when passing. The road has several vertical crests and sharp vertical curvatures which would make the turbines appear suddenly then disappear just as quickly. As this road has seen many accidents over a number of years, this would surely add another driving distraction to an already dangerous road. Norman Moodie.Craigview,Clatto Farm,Cupar. Get involved: to have your say on these or any other topics, email your letter to letters@thecourier.co.uk or send to Letters Editor, The Courier, 80 Kingsway East, Dundee DD4 8SL.