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 luxurious Mearns mansion with its own baronial title can be had for offers of more than £1.7 million. Johnston Lodge near Laurencekirk was built by future provost and parliamentarian James Farquhar in 1780 and represents a “major part of Scottish history” according to its sellers. Reid Estates are promoting the Georgian two-storey dwelling to the international market, with offers of more than 2.1 million US dollars or 119 million Russian rubles also accepted. The Garvock home is surrounded by its own nine-hole golf course in 32 acres of land, with woods, green pastures and a stream. There is also a tennis court and an area for landing a helicopter. Above the C-listed mansion, on the Hill of Garvock, Farquhar built the Johnston Tower to commemorate Wellington’s defeat of Napoleon in the Peninsular War. This tower can be seen for miles around and became world-famous as it was used to badge the linen designs woven on Laurencekirk’s looms. Reid states: “It is very rare that a property of such magnificence comes on the market in Scotland. “Johnston Lodge dominates the Howe of Mearns and holds a major part in Scottish history. “Purchasers would not be buying a home, but a piece of British heritage.” The sale includes the ground, four receptions, morning room, kitchen, utility room, study, hot tub room, six bedroom suites, two cloakrooms, wine cellar, and stores. The original lands were occupied by Sir Alexander Fraser, brother-in-law of Robert the Bruce, and merchant’s son Farquhar built the present mansion house as a doctor before he became MP for Aberdeen Burghs and Provost of Inverbervie. The lodge’s third owner and benefactor of “Lawrencekirk”, Frances Garden Lord Gardenstone, aggressively increased the village’s size until he created a single baronial estate for the lands of Johnston in 1812. This title is in place and may be considered with the property sale. Chalybeate Well to the rear, now B-listed, was built to provide water for residents in the early 1800s. The village was also world-renowned for making snuff boxes with a special airtight hinge, known as the Laurencekirk Hinge, invented by James Sandy.
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
Laurencekirk’s council depot has emerged as the preferred option for a Travellers site in south Aberdeenshire. The Fordoun Road site will this week be highlighted as one of two locations which Aberdeenshire Council hopes to develop to ease the shortage of available pitches for the Gypsy/Traveller community. But a £500,000 price tag has been attached to creating the 10-pitch, fully-serviced site. Minority ethnic communities officer Moyra Stephen will deliver a report to the council’s Gypsy/Traveller sub- committee after a decision earlier this year to formulate a future provision strategy. Land at Old Deer has been identified as a preferred stopover site for the north of the region and although four sites have also been identified under the council’s current development plan, those are unlikely to be developed in the short term. The report states: “The central location of the site at Laurencekirk, coupled with the level of amenities already provided on site (access to fresh water, electricity and drainage) makes the site an ideal opportunity to develop a fully-serviced site with wash blocks. “The site scores well using the scoring matrix and is therefore the recommended site for south Aberdeenshire.” The document details consultations already carried out with the Gypsy/ Traveller community as well as citizens’ panel feedback, which revealed a view among residents that there should be more site provision in Aberdeenshire. But the paper also reveals there may already be a six-figure funding gap to close before any development of the Mearns site. Officials estimated the cost of a fully-service site in Laurencekirk at £560,000, while the stopover site in the north of the council area will be around £350,000. “A budget of £126,000 has been set aside in the capital plan for the development of a Gypsy/Traveller site in Aberdeenshire,” states Ms Stephen. Laurencekirk Development Trust chairman Mike Robson said: “These people have to go somewhere and I am now realising they move in family groups. “I know a number of people who are of the travelling community and I have no problems with them at all.” Aberdeenshire Council is still embroiled in an enforcement battle over the illegal North Esk Park Travellers’ site, close to the border with Angus, which was created without permission on land near St Cyrus in September 2013.
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.
Angus communities braved the weather to crack on with their weekend fireworks displays but for others the weekend downpours proved a damp squib. Kirriemuir and Carnoustie were the places to be after organisers forged ahead with their bonfires and fireworks, and were rewarded with big turnouts. Torrential rain forced those behind the Edzell and Laurencekirk events to change their plans. Laurencekirk’s was held on Sunday night, with Edzell to follow on Saturday. Saturday’s weather posed no major problems for drivers although many rural routes were affected by surface water and debris. Picture by Photos on Location
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
The ball could start rolling on a multi-million-pound Montrose business park this year, it has emerged. Developers behind the project, dubbed North Montrose, imagine energy firms and big business would come to use the town as a waypoint for the North Sea renewables industry. The John Lawrie Group’s plans for the former airfield off Charleton Road were originally submitted in June 2014, but hit a stumbling block due to fears that local infrastructure does not support extra traffic. Transport Scotland expressed concerns over the amount of extra haulage on the A90 at Laurencekirk, and ruled that any Angus Council planning approval would forbid development to start until the A937 junction near Laurencekirk is upgraded. Now that the Scottish Government has allocated £24 million for a flyover at Laurencekirk’s south junction on to the A90, the mothballed plans are set to be decided by development standards councillors this month. Director for the Scottish metal re-processor and steel trading company, Charlie Parker, previously told The Courier that plans are still “very fluid” but he hopes any resulting development would be “great for the town”. The North Sea oil and gas industry is already an important trade in Montrose port with the town’s close proximity to offshore wind fields such as Inchcape a big selling point. A brochure was presented to attendees at conferences to get feedback from the offshore and renewables sector, and big names have indicated early interest in coming to town. Established in Aberdeen in the 1930s, John Lawrie Group has offices on Forties Road, Montrose, and is one of the UK’s foremost firms in its field, employing more than 100 people in the UK, US and Europe. The firm has owned the site for more than a decade, and it has remained disused apart from a former golf practice range that is now use by the local links club as a turf nursery. The firm believes the site’s proximity to Montrose harbour is “an opportunity” to develop a logistics and supply base that would support offshore windfarms and work boats. It is understood planning permission in principle will be decided on February 16.
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.
Road safety campaigners are to get their first glimpse of designs for an A90 flyover which they hope will rid Laurencekirk of its killer crossing reputation. The three possible options have been revealed ahead of a community exhibition on Monday – two involving the creation of a grade-separated at the dual carriageway’s deadly meeting point with the A937, and the third a planned realignment of that route to a flyover at the north end of the town. © DC ThomsonOption 1: A full-diamond arrangement replacing the existing junction to the south of Laurencekirk.The A937 is carried on a new bridge over the A90 to Laurencekirk with roundabouts either side of the bridge. Last year, the Scottish Government committed to building a £24 million flyover to improve the safety of the A90/A937 junction after years of campaigning by locals. Option Two: A half-cloverleaf layout replacing the existing junction to the south of Laurencekirk.The A937 is carried on a new bridge over the A90, with roundabouts either side of the bridge facilitating turning manoeuvres to access the A90 northbound and southbound via looped slip roads. The trunk-road has previously been dubbed one of the most dangerous in the UK. Option Three: A937 realignment to Laurencekirk north junctionThe realignment on the east side of the A90 runs from the existing A937 near the junction south of Laurencekirk to a new flyover north of the town where the A937 is carried on a new bridge over the A90.Roundabouts either side of the bridge will facilitate access to Laurencekirk and the A90 northbound via the existing junction. Many locals can still recall a horrific 19-day period in which five lives were lost in three separate crashes in 2001. Transport Minister Humza Yousaf said it was important to give people the chance to view and comment on the “much-needed” improvements and he has urged locals and road users to make their voices heard on the proposals. He said: “Since we appointed design consultants in September 2016, we have been working hard to identify and undertake an initial assessment of options for the planned improvements at Laurencekirk. “We are now able to let the public see and comment on the options that are under consideration for this much-needed upgrade. “I would encourage as many people as possible to attend the exhibition or view the material online and give us their views by November 27. “All comments received will be considered as we look to identify a preferred option next year. “While there is still a lot of essential development work to be carried out, we continue to push forward the design preparation stages to deliver this scheme as soon as possible, which will bring improved road safety and economic benefits to road users and the local community in Laurencekirk and the wider north east,” said the minister. It is expected the final design will be chosen sometime next year, after which it will be further assessed before publication of draft orders in 2019. Any objectors or supporters will then be able to provide formal comment before construction is legally authorised. The eagerly-awaited public consultation runs from noon until 7pm on Monday in Laurencekirk’s St Laurence Hall.