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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...

UK & World

Pilot pleads not guilty over Shoreham Airshow manslaughter charges

May 15 2018

A pilot whose plane crashed during the 2015 Shoreham Airshow, killing 11 men, has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.Andrew Hill, 54, faces trial on 11 charges of manslaughter by gross negligence and one of recklessly or negligently endangering an aircraft under air navigation laws.The defendant, who is on bail, pleaded not guilty to all the charges relating to the crash on August 22, 2015.He wore a grey suit and blue tie for his appearance at the Old Bailey before Judge Richard Marks QC.The judge set a trial for January 14 2019 and confirmed the case would be heard by a High Court judge.The trial is expected to go on for up to seven weeks.The victims were Maurice Rex Abrahams, Dylan Archer, Anthony David Brightwell, Matthew James Grimstone, Matthew Wesley Jones, James Graham Mallinson, Mark Alexander Reeves, Jacob Henry Schilt, Richard Jonathan Smith, Mark James Trussler and Daniele Gaetano Polito.Hill, of Sandon, Hertfordshire, is accused of “recklessly or negligently” endangering a Hawker Hunter G-BXFI or any person on that aircraft contrary to Article 137 of the Air Navigation Order 2009.Judge Marks ordered a pre-trial review at the Old Bailey on a date to be arranged at the end of October.Hill remains on unconditional bail.

Readers' letters

March 24: No mention of impact these 100m-high turbines will have on local residents

March 24 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - I refer to your article "Proposed windfarm will benefit community: claim" (March 21), regarding the proposed three-turbine windfarm north of the Binn Hill at Burntisland. I note with interest that the article concentrates on the supposed benefits to local communities and charities. There is no mention at all of the impact these 100m-high turbines will have on the local residents. There are four properties, mine included, all within 500m of one of these huge machines. Mr Wylie is quoted as saying that: "There is a fantastic wind resource here ... it's only right that it should be harvested for local benefits." Surprisingly, I, and others, don't agree with that statement. The local residents will have their quality of life totally destroyed by the installation of these turbines and all for what? Profit and greed. All, of course, supported by the ridiculous subsidies for wind generation, which we are all paying for in higher electricity bills. One of the serious problems with inappropriate siting of large wind turbines is the highly detrimental impact on local residents and it should be noted that Mr and Mrs Wylie's property is a considerable distance from the proposed locations. I wonder why this should be? I have noticed a recent increase in the number of articles in the press highlighting the downsides, and there are many, of huge wind turbines. I believe now that people are waking up to the folly that is current Scottish Government policy. This three-turbine windfarm will be resisted as robustly as possible. David W Potts.Hatton Cottage,Burntisland. Glad to help reduce the top tax rate Sir, - As one of the five million OAPs in the £10,500 and £28,000 bracket can I say how pleased I am to contribute to the £3 billion which will allow the top tax rate to be reduced? Only someone as unpatriotic as Winston Churchill would have given pensioners a higher personal tax allowance in 1925 and I am so relieved George Osborne has now binned it. It is such a blessing he has done nothing to improve the annuity market, to support ISA changes or to shelter older people's interest income from his quantitative easing. As long as richer pensioners are unaffected and the gold-plated pensions of public sector employees are protected what are a few stealth taxes among us private sector oldies? Could I suggest that to maintain company cars for health managers and chauffeur-driven limos for government ministers, he might consider withdrawing all bus passes? (Rev) John Cameron.10 Howard Place,St Andrews. Party in Cloud Cuckoo land Sir, - They say a week is a long time in politics but how would they describe a year? Last summer, Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "Anyone who thinks we are going to shift our priority to reducing the tax burden for the wealthiest have got another thing coming ... Abolishing the 50p rate cannot be the right priority for the country." And yet after this week's budget that is precisely what has happened. Mr Alexander also suggested that anyone who thought they would cut the rate was living in "Cloud Cuckoo land". The only people living in Cloud Cuckoo land are in the Liberal Democratic Party, which refuses to believe the party has completely sold out. Kevin Cordell.2 Nevis Place,Broughty Ferry. No right to take so many fish Sir, - Some of the more outrageous statements by Usan Fisheries in Monday's Courier (Netting firm rejects claim) cannot be allowed to go unanswered. Mr Pullar of Usan claims his netting has no effect on salmon runs. Why, then, is it that whilst all the major east coast rivers have benefited from increased runs, the South Esk has not? It's no coincidence the runs of salmon have decreased at the same time his netting efforts have increased. He is right to say he has the right to kill fish. What he should not have is the right to kill fish in such numbers as to be greatly detrimental to others who have the right to fish. Bill Balfour.9 Cookston Crescent,Brechin. Isle of Man status claim? Sir - Reference David Clegg's concise article (March 21) on the situation regarding the Northern Isles' attitude to Scottish independence. The SNP response indicates either a lamentable lack of knowledge of Scotland's history, or a sneaking, arrogant hope the question would never arise. It is arising and indicates yet another strand of unnecessary discord between the perfectly acceptable status quo of our current political system I don't even see the need for a parliament in Edinburgh! and the troublesome, nitpicking, dangerous and blustery posturing of those politicians seeking independence for my and others' country. I suggest the Isles should seek similar status to that of the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man. There's something for the SNP to ponder! A T Geddie.68 Carleton Avenue,Glenrothes. Speed cameras Sir, - Why are the speed cameras not active on the stretch of road close to the Laurencekirk junctions? At £60 per offence, there is £180,000 a day waiting to be collected, or £65 millon pounds a year. Now, what was the cost of building a flyover? OK, I know there is a flaw somewhere in the logic, but there is no point in bleating about the speed of the traffic if the most obvious of control mechanisms is not used. Tom Reid.Cortachy Crescent,Kirriemuir. 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. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.

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.


Broughty Ferry Gala Week off to colourful start

June 30 2014

Broughty Ferry Gala Week launched with large crowds attending a fete on Castle Green. The event was preceded by a children’s fancy dress competition, with the entrants parading to the riverfront park to start the eight-day programme of activities. TV personality Lorraine Kelly, the Ferry’s best-known resident, said: “Broughty Ferry Gala Week is always such a fun-filled event. There’s so much to see and do for all the family. “It’s not to be missed.” Attractions at the fete included a pipe band parade, live music, Radio Tay Roadshow, games, food from local suppliers, a fire engine, face painting, charity stalls, fairground attractions and a beer tent. Entry to the fete was free but a bucket collection gathered money for charities, including the Broughty Ferry lifeboat, Age Concern, St Andrew’s Ambulance, YMCA and the Scouts. Any surplus will go towards buying extra Christmas street light displays for the Ferry. Gerry Stewart, who chairs the gala committee, said: “A fantastic amount of thought and work has gone into organising this year’s events, so we are confident that this year’s gala week will be one of the best ever. “We want to see plenty of people coming to the Ferry. “The committee works extremely hard to make gala week happen but we couldn’t do it without the generous support of Dundee City Council and the event sponsors.” There are several events every day of the week, including the sand sculpture and pavement drawing competitions, an antiques roadshow, quiz nights, family fun night, a fishing competition and a bonnie baby competition. The action yesterday was not confined to the fete, as Broughty Ferry’s streets were thronged with hundreds of people making an early start to the window-spotting competition. The public have to spot unusual articles displayed in the windows of 71 shops and businesses which are members of Broughty Ferry Traders’ Association. See the Dundee editions of The Courier this week for more coverage.

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.


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.

Readers' letters

March 16: Council leader’s insensitive bridge collapse remarks were totally unacceptable

March 16 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - It is obvious from your report on the Dundee administrative SNP leader, Ken Guild, that his astonishing and arrogant remarks relating to the foreign sourcing of steel for the new Forth bridge crossing and his insensitive remarks regarding the tragic collapse of the first Tay Rail Bridge were totally unacceptable from anyone in authority let alone our city council leader. Had Mr Guild realised his faux pas, apologised immediately or indeed responded to this matter with some remorse and dignity, I'm sure the matter may have passed. Sadly, it is the sort of arrogance we have come to expect from this party who, it seems, can never openly admit to being wrong about anything. I do not profess to be an authority of the history of the Tay Rail Bridge, but was under the impression that it was an engineering design fault, laid at the feet of engineering architect Thomas Bouch, allied to some faulty iron which was at fault for the collapse. Oh yes, and a bit of a storm, of course! If I am wrong in my assumptions, then I stand corrected and sincerely apologise. How can Mr Guild possibly say his comments "were not suggesting in any way that Scottish steel was inferior"? I'm sorry, I cannot read this any other way, and I dare say in the 133 years since the collapse of the bridge the Scottish and British steel industries may have made some advances. It appears this Nationalist-awarded contract to China is a smear not only on British business, but European business, too. Shame on you. Ian Milne.Craigiebarn Road,Dundee. Can't think why it turned into such a row Sir, - Having read your article in The Courier regarding a row over curry sauce being accidentally spilt on a customer's coat, I understand it would be rather upsetting. However, what I do not understand is the way that the customer felt that he was treated disrespectfully. Obviously I was not there, therefore I cannot have an opinion on this particular case. But I do have experience of a similar case when my wife had gravy spilt on her skirt at the Hotel Broughty Ferry. We all know that accidents do happen occasionally, without blame. When my wife drew the waitress's attention to the problem, the waitress apologised and reported the matter to the proprietor, Gerry Stewart, who was most apologetic and could not do enough to make amends. She told my wife to get her skirt cleaned and send the bill to her, but if it did not clean successfully and to my wife's satisfaction, she would compensate my wife, by way of paying for a new skirt. However the skirt cleaning was satisfactory. No harm done. We have used The Broughty Ferry Hotel and found it to be an excellent establishment, with staff and owners being polite and courteous at all times. Therefore, I am at a loss to understand why the reported incident escalated into a row. Ralph Callaghan.45 Dundee Road,Broughty Ferry. Reprieve for City Hall? Sir,- Pride in our regained city status should surely emphasise the essential opportunities for the Perth City Hall, adapted to allow all the functions for which it was originally intended. Hopefully, the destructive, expensive and wasteful proposal, by a council committee, for its demolition and replacement by a Mediterranean-style piazza can now be dropped. The adapted hall must become again the venue for so many county and city purposes civic functions for the people of our "Fair City". Isabel and Charles Wardrop.111 Viewlands Road West, Perth. Jenny's 'attack' on SNP Sir, - Jenny Hjul's article in The Courier (March 14) surprised me in its complete lack of balanced journalism. It comes across as 100% anti-nationalism, and reads as unionist 'propaganda' in itself. It derides SNP supporters at every turn 'minions', 'rank and file nonsense', 'brainwashed'. It also seems to suggest that Courier readers are gullible and unable to form their own opinions. It is perhaps worth remembering that the majority of Dundonians voted in an SNP council administration and may not take kindly to this sort of judgment. Chris Johnston.Cowgate,Tayport. Ideal for Alex Sir, - On Wednesday (March 14), The Courier reported on the First Minister at the launch of the new film Brave, set "in a mythical Scotland". Who better to champion this film than Mr Alex Salmond? Ranald Noel-Paton.Pitcurran House,Abernethy. No surprise Sir, - The controversial national (or political) police force seems to be going ahead but there is now a degree of debate about the appointment of the chief constable (or whatever the title will be). I am quite sure the decision, which will be no surprise, has already been made but there will be many guidelines to ensure the political leaders are obeyed. Big is not always beautiful or efficient. John McDonald.Kirkcaldy. On what basis? Sir, - I strongly believe measures are needed to address the alcohol-related social problems in Scotland. However, I am sceptical of the claims being made in favour of minimum pricing. It is regularly claimed the medical profession is overwhelmingly supportive, but on what basis? Do they, or does anyone, have any proven meaningful data that shows minimum pricing, as proposed, will make any measureable difference? G M Lindsay.Kinross. 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. Letters should be accompanied by an address and a daytime telephone number.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.