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…
A remarkable journey by a retired Fife teacher to one of the remotest corners of earthquake-devastated Nepal will be shown on TV on Sunday. The Adventure Show followed the efforts of James Lamb as he distributed tents, sleeping bags and clothing much of it gifted by Perth businessman Alex Runciman of Mountain Supplies to the grateful Nepalese. “People were crying when we gave them sleeping bags,” said Mr Lamb, from Falkland. “I have no doubt without these donations people would have died. “It was very rewarding but incredibly emotionally demanding.” Mr Lamb, who was also featured on the Adventure Show earlier this year, found that many mountain villages in the Everest region had still not received any official help, six months after two devastating earthquakes and aftershocks.Adventure Show in June:His team travelled through the region to the village of Phortse in the Everest National Park. The village is home to many Everest veteran Sherpas including Ang Tshering who summited the world’s highest mountain three times. His house was destroyed in the earthquake and, like many others in his village, he will spend the bitterly cold Himalayan winter living in a tent. Many of these villagers would struggle to survive were it not for a charity Mr Lamb founded with a local monk named Tashi Lama. Battling the inevitable bureaucracy, he has brought equipment and financial help to the village. Despite no previous experience of charitable work, Mr Lamb’s charity, called Little Sherpa Foundation, is helping the people of this remote region survive the harsh winter conditions. A big financial backer of his efforts has come from Nepalese entrepreneur Pashupati Bhandari who owns the Everest Inn chain, which has a restaurant in Perth. It is thought that the Nepal earthquakes killed over 8500 people, injured more than double that number, displaced almost three million with more than one million people still in need of food aid. Mr Lamb said they helped everyone from newborn children to the elderly, with the villagers dubbing him “father of Phortse” for his assistance. He is now working with award-winning architect Murray Kerr who has designed eco-friendly houses which would withstand earthquakes. “Hopefully this will pave the way to a new style of building in Nepal,” said Mr Lamb, who will be returning to the country early next year. The Adventure Show is on BBC2 Scotland on Sunday at 8pm.
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
THE NATIONAL Sheep Association (NSA) has expressed “huge disappointment” at the news that 43 out of 145 meat samples from lamb takeaways recently tested by the Food Standards Agency were not in fact lamb. NSA chief executive Phil Stocker said: “We are really disappointed that this is still going on and lessons haven’t been learnt from the horsemeat scandal. “Transparency and honest labelling that people can trust is absolutely essential and NSA is pleased the FSA and local authorities will be taking additional action to stamp out malpractice. “Sheep farmers work exceptionally hard to do the job right and turn out a high quality and traceable product. “They are subject to strict animal identification laws and onerous inspection regimes, and many voluntarily participate in additional assurance schemes. “This news is a slap in the face to a sheep sector that puts in so much effort. “We have been let down by individuals further up the food chain who are not showing respect for the honesty, traceability and high value of the work sheep farmers do.” Beef, chicken and turkey were found in the 43 non-lamb samples, but no horsemeat. The FSA has asked local authorities to test 300 samples of lamb from takeaways from the beginning of May, with the threat of a £5,000 fine for takeaway owners who are found to be mislabelling food.
careful stock selection, advantageous use of electronic identification, and top-class grassland management has helped Pembrokeshire farmer Neil Perkins become one of the UK’s most efficient sheep farmers. He, his wife Lynda and father Roger farm 600 acres at Dinas Island near Newport, Wales. Most of the land is rented from the National Trust with some owner-occupied. Despite its name most of the farm is on a peninsula which rises gently from the farm buildings towards sea cliffs which form part of the Pembrokeshire coastal path. Lynda and her father-in-law make the most of the location by letting out six holiday cottages and running a camp site. “I am no use at that because I am far too rude to deal with the public,” Neil told a visiting group from the Edinburgh Agricultural Society. He concentrates instead entirely on the sheep enterprise which now runs to 1,800 Lleyn ewes and 400 followers. The turning point for the Perkins family came with two consecutive scholarships. In 2001 a Churchill Scholarship saw Roger heading for New Zealand to study livestock production and four years later Neil followed in his footsteps courtesy of a Nuffield Scholarship. The result was an end to a mixed enterprise which had encompassed pigs, beef, sheep and arable and a decision to concentrate on sheep using a one-breed policy and maximising grass production. Previously the Perkins family had bought Welsh Speckled Faced ewes and crossedthem with a Bluefaced Leicester to produce ewes capable of being crossed with a terminal sire. The decision was made instead to focus entirely on the Lleyn breed and carefully build up genetic merit within the flock. Neil runs a three-flock system with Flock A comprising the best performing ewes bred pure with high-merit pure Lleyn rams. “I now have 250 ewes in this flock and they have everything that we want they are perfect ewes,” he said. “Eventually I would like to have 400 in this flock.” This elite flock provides replacements which cascade down into Flock B which is mostly crossed with a New Zealand Texel. This flock in turn provides replacements for Flock C which only produces slaughter lambs. The speed at which individual animals move down through the flocks depends on analysis of recorded data. For example, Neil had noticed he had around 250 cases of lameness annually but that this included some ewes which had been treated up to 10 times. Anything showing problems is immediately demoted to the Flock C and no daughters retained for breeding. This might sound horrendously complicated to manage but Neil has embraced all the latest technology to make it quite simple. An early enthusiast for EID, he now combines this with a DM Handling Systems race with built in tag readers. Made by David McGillvray on his farm near Falkirk, the machine consists of twin conveyor belts set in a V formation. As the sheep enters the race it is gently picked up and held as it is carried forward over weigh cells and past tag readers mounted on either side of the chassis. The machine is constantly in use for tasks such as vaccinating and dosing but its key function is to separate the A, B and C flocks prior to tupping. Apart from that short period the flocks are not kept separate and are treated exactly the same. “In fact once we see them separated Flock A doesn’t always look the best but that is because the ewes have been working harder rearing really good lambs,” said Neil. He readily admits the system would never work without EID because of the amount of data involved. Now it is simply a case of programming the DM machine to allow its shedding gates to automatically do the work. Grassland management benefits from the same level of detailed management. High-sugar grasses are mixed with clovers and chicory with leys expected to last up to 10 years. Using a quad bike-mounted device growth is measured weekly, allowing a detailed grazing programme to be worked out and surplus paddocks diverted into silage. At this time of year Neil expects his leys to produce around 75 kilograms of dry matter per hectare per day and a lamb to consume around 900 grams. “We fertilise the paddocks to maintain production,” Neil said. “In this system it is very important never to run out of grass.” Despite its coastal location and mild climate the soils are deemed too heavy for outwintering and the ewes spend the two months up to the March lambing period indoors. A recently constructed 60 metre by 30 metre lambing shed has made life much easier. All lambs are weighed every four weeks and wormed as required with the aim being to have the whole crop finished off grass.
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.
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.
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. email@example.com
Lamb producers looking to lift margins from their flock can make small changes to ensure better returns. That was the focus of a meeting of the Central Lamb Supply Chain Group held at Parks of Aldie Farm, Fossoway, Kinross, with a follow-on visit to Scotbeef, Bridge of Allan. Group facilitator Raymond Crerar of SAC Consulting reminded the group of more than 30 attendees that, while they cannot influence price or effect market volatility, with an improved understanding of grazing and post-weaning management they can reduce their costs and receive the best return from their lambs. Sir David Kinloch, who resides at House of Aldie and owns Parks of Aldie, welcomed the group. He said the farm extends to 630 acres, mostly down to grass, with 80 acres of spring barley, 16 acres of forage rape and 130 acres of carefully managed woodland. The operational responsibility lies with farm grieve Alan Sim. Together with farm business adviser Peter Hall of Laurence Gould, the team manages the flock of 930 Scotch Mule ewes. A key performance indicator (KPI) dashboard had been prepared and shared with the group. The KPIs showed a scanning rate at 195%, tailing at 168% and weaning at 166%. Daily liveweight gain had also been calculated and to weaning came in at 282g per day. This is within the “very good” category and by the end of last month, 228 lambs were already sold. Finishing as many lambs as possible off grass is an objective for the Parks of Aldie team and they rely on turning lambs on to good clean pasture at weaning to avoid a growth check. The group inspected pasture cover and saw for themselves the quality of the grass. SAC sheep and beef specialist Rhidian Jones said: “Weaned finishing lambs need to be given the best quality grass and clover on the farm to keep growth rates high and enable faster finishing. “Lambs only growing at 100g per day will take three times longer and consume twice the dry matter of lambs growing at 300g per day.” Bryan Robb of cooperative buying group Farmstock (Scotland) Ltd handles the Parks of Aldie lambs to fulfil Scotbeef supermarket and export contracts and informed the group of the requirements for this market. The ideal carcase weight is 16-21kg, so ideally lambs should be no more than 43kg in the liveweight scales. Regular selection is the best way to meet the specification. The group was given a demonstration, with Bryan commenting: “To check your lambs have a good finish, use your hand to feel right along the loin on both sides, whilst pushing down to assess the fat cover. “As the season progresses, the tail, to assess its fat cover, is a good indicator of whether it is ready or not.” Bryan advises to be on the lookout for such lambs so they can be marketed while they still meet the specification. With the knowledge they were to inspect the lambs on the hook at Scotbeef, the group were given the opportunity to handle Suffolk, Suffolk/Beltex and Texel/Beltex lambs for themselves to assess conformation and fat cover. The following day, more than half the group arrived at Scotbeef to discover the lambs had killed out very well, producing mainly U3L carcases with a number of E and some R grades too. Bill Mackinnon of Scotbeef recapped on the importance of meeting the specification to receive the best prices and highlighted the increasingly important duty of care to present clean stock. He said: “Lamb cleanliness is the first stage in compliance with the food standard regulations. “We require all lambs to be free of dung round the tail. In winter their bellies must also be clipped and we encourage farmers to keep the lambs off grass and in a clean straw-bedded shed the night before they are brought to the abattoir.” Caroline Robinson, veterinary investigation officer at SAC’s Perth Veterinary Centre, advised using clean pasture for weaned lambs. Low-risk grazing has only small numbers of worm larvae on the grass. This will include fields that have had no sheep on them for 12 months. Fields only grazed by cattle or cut for silage this year are also low-risk, as are forage crops or stubble fields. Aim to avoid lambs carrying an excessive worm burden as infection damages the gut and may reduce feed intakes by 12.5%, resulting in reduced growth rates. Use faecal worm egg counts to avoid worming unnecessarily. If a wormer is required, adhere to best dosing practice by weighing the lambs in the batch and dosing to the heaviest, Caroline said. If moving to clean grass afterwards avoid accelerating resistance to wormers by either leaving the best 10% of the lambs untreated or returning the group to their current field for four or five days before weaning. Caroline cautioned on the effectiveness of wormers and urged the group to select a wormer carefully. The best way to know if the product is working is to test it by collecting 10 individual dung samples from lambs and taking a note of the ear tag number of each. Submit the sample to your vet for a faecal egg count. Administer the wormer and two weeks later carry out another test on the same group of 10, taking the vet’s advice on timing. If a wormer is not more than 95% effective in reducing the egg count, some wormer resistance may be developing. Four more meetings of the supply chain group take place this autumn and winter. The meetings are funded by QMS, Farm Stock Scotland Ltd and the Scottish Government Skills Development Scheme. They are facilitated by SAC Consulting and aim to enhance collaboration and communication in the supply chain and improve productivity and profitability at all levels.
The life and work of Angus artist and sculptor William Lamb is to be immortalised in print for the first time. Researched and written over several years by retired Montrose businessman John Stansfeld, the work will be published by Edinburgh publishing house Birlinn. This is the first book to be written about the largely forgotten William Lamb, who was arguably one of the most important Scottish sculptors of the 20th century. In 1932 Lamb was commissioned by the Queen Mother, who was then Duchess of York, and who was born at Glamis Castle, to model portrait heads of her daughters, the princesses Elizabeth, now the Queen, and Margaret. Impressed by his skill, the duchess also commissioned Lamb to produce a portrait of herself. Mr Stansfeld has always known and loved the works of William Lamb, and he long recognised that the artist’s standing deserved to be recorded in a book. A lucky “tip-off” pointed him in the direction of one of Lamb’s great friends, Mildred (known as Ray) Simm, then living in Orkney. She had gathered together an archive of Lamb material including around 400 letters, cuttings, accounts, diaries and other items. After an exchange of letters, Mr Stansfeld and Ray were able to meet and she passed on her collection to him, with encouragement to write Lamb’s biography. A lot of further research took several years for Mr Stansfeld to complete, and Ray was able to read the first chapters shortly before she died in 2005, aged 105. The book is dedicated to her memory. Mr Stansfeld said: “As soon as I saw all the material collected together by Ray Simm I realised that here was a truly fascinating life story of a very major, if unsung, Scottish sculptor. “Lamb was a man who overcame many adversities to become pre-eminent in the Scottish art establishment. “I hope that this book will go some way to rediscovering the man and re-establishing his place in Scottish art history.” William Lamb died in 1951 in relative obscurity in his native Montrose and it was his wish that the studio should be left as his memorial gift. His sister, Miss Caroline Lamb, adhering to his wishes, passed the studio and its contents to Montrose Town Council. The building was laid out as a permanent exhibition of Lamb’s work and opened in 1955 as a memorial to him. Sponsorship for the book is being provided by Montrose Heritage Trust and the Friends of William Lamb. Edinburgh art historian Professor Duncan Macmillan, author of Scottish Art 14602000, has written an introduction to the new book, production of which is well under way. It will be launched at the Royal Scottish Academy at the end of September. This will be followed by a second event in Montrose. Andrew Orr, of Montrose Heritage Trust, said: “This is exactly the sort of project that we like to support as we feel that William Lamb is a huge cultural asset to Montrose, to Angus and to Scotland. “This interesting and beautifully illustrated book will go a long way to promoting visitors to the town, to the sculpture trail and the Lamb collection.” Kitty Ritchie, of the Friends of William Lamb, said: “Our group is dedicated to keeping alive the memory and reputation of William Lamb and we have been greatly looking forward to the completion of this book. It will help enormously with the success of the William Lamb Memorial Studio here in Montrose.”