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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...

Motoring news

Form an orderly Q for Audi SUV

August 10 2016

First there was the Q7. Then the Q5 and Q3. All have been a phenomenal success for Audi. I’d be surprised if that script changes when the Q2 arrives in November. Audi’s baby SUV is available to order now with prices starting at £22,380. Can’t quite stretch to that? Don’t worry, an entry level three-cylinder 1.0 litre version will be available later this year with a cover tag of £20,230. From launch, there are three trim levels available for the Q2 called SE, Sport and S Line. The range-topping Edition #1 model will be available to order from next month priced from £31,170. While the entry-level 113bhp 1.0-litre unit isn’t available right away, engines you can order now include a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel and 148bhp 1.4-litre petrol unit, both with manual or S tronic automatic transmissions. Also joining the Q2 line-up from September is the 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 148bhp or 187bhp. This unit comes with optional Quattro all-wheel drive. A 2.0 litre petrol with Quattro and S tronic joins the range next year. Standard equipment for the new Audi Q2 includes a multimedia infotainment system with rotary/push-button controls, supported with sat-nav. Audi’s smartphone-friendly interface, 16in alloy wheels, Bluetooth connectivity and heated and electric mirrors are all also standard for the Audi. Along with the optional Audi virtual cockpit and the head-up display, the driver assistance systems for the Audi Q2 also come from the larger Audi models – including the Audi pre sense front with pedestrian recognition that is standard. The system recognises critical situations with other vehicles as well as pedestrians crossing in front of the vehicle, and if necessary it can initiate hard braking – to a standstill at low speeds. Other systems in the line-up include adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function, traffic jam assist, the lane-departure warning system Audi side assist, the lane-keeping assistant Audi active lane assist, traffic sign recognition and rear cross-traffic assist.

Gadgets & Games

Gordon Brown and Martha Lane Fox get behind online campaign

January 27 2011

A campaign to get every person in the UK surfing the internet has swept into Fife with the support of Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath MP Gordon Brown. Race Online 2012 aims to make the UK one of the first countries in the world where everyone can access the internet by the time the London Olympics rolls around next year. To mark the Fife leg of the drive this week, champion surfer and UK digital champion Martha Lane Fox visited the Templehall area of Kirkcaldy to raise awareness of the work being done to get people online. As well as asking Fife Council and other partner agencies to pledge their support to the campaign, Martha who was accompanied by Mr Brown also got the chance to find out what is already happening in communities across Fife. Work in learning centres and libraries has already had a huge impact and a team of Fife's own digital champions are helping others in their own communities. Mr Brown said, "I am delighted that Martha Lane Fox has come to Fife as she is recognised as the leading figure in driving the digital agenda in the UK and further afield. "I wanted her to see the excellent work that is going on in Fife and I hope that she will be able to offer her expertise and work with us to ensure that Fife develops the full potential and wide range of opportunities that digital technology has to offer." There are still 10 million adults in the UK who have never used the internet more than a fifth of the population. Fife councillor Brian Goodall said, "We were delighted that Martha could come along to hear about the work that's well under way in the Kingdom to make sure anyone who feels excluded by digital technology doesn't miss out on the range of benefits available by going online."

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


Ambitious Festival of Ideas line-up announced

February 15 2017

Jo Cox’s husband is part of the most ambitious line-up of speakers ever assembled by the Adam Smith Global Foundation. Taking place between March 17 and 19,  the event has been a long time in the planning and will be the foundation to “show the outstanding work taking place here in Kirkcaldy” and establish Fife as a key economic player and as a place with ambition. The Adam Smith Festival of Ideas will use the teachings of the economist as its founding principles, in a time when the world undergoes a bewildering transformation. It seeks to build on the philanthropic and academic theories of Smith to engage people from around the world in creative discussions as Scotland enters a period of new enlightenment. A variety of key speakers describe fundamental changes and challenges facing Scotland and the global community. Guest speakers will include Strictly star and former cabinet minister Ed Balls, Arabella Weir, Brendan Cox, Sally Magnusson, Martha Lane Fox and Gordon Brown. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czqtjk_iGFU   Hosted by Alistair Moffat, ticketed events will offer two days of  thought-provoking discussion about versions of Scotland’s future. Organisers want to reach out to communities throughout Scotland ensuring the conversation embraces the nation, penetrating communities that are rarely taken into account. Once it has finished, they hope to maintain the momentum with a YouTube channel and an interactive website to attempt a national conversation which will lead to a second event to be held in Kirkcaldy in 2018. Gordon Brown said; “I am very pleased that Ed Balls will open the festival with the Adam Smith lecture Strictly Smith, coming straight from his successful Strictly tour. “We are fortunate to also have Brendan Cox from Hope not Hate and widower of Jo Cox who was murdered while carrying out her public duties. “Brendan will give the Jo Cox Memorial lecture on Saturday evening. “I am delighted that these events have attracted so much support.” Kirkcaldy area committee and Kirkcaldy Ambitions group chairman, Neil Crooks, added: “This is a once in a generational opportunity for Kirkcaldy to support the legacy of Adam Smith and welcome such a prestigious and exciting event to our town. “I hope its impact will be far reaching and support the economic and social wellbeing of our communities’. Fife Cultural Trust chief executive Heather Stuart added: ‘We are delighted to be supporting the inaugural Adam Smith Festival of Ideas.”

Readers' letters

November 27: Fight this vandalising of wildlife hot spots

November 27 2012

Today's letters to The Courier. Sir, - I read Stuart Gillespie's article, Park and ride plans denounced (November 24), with great interest. It is most heartening to read of Maggy Astin and Linda Hartley's plan to lodge an objection to the installation of a 400-car facility at Dundee's Riverside Nature Park. With the amount of development springing up in and around our city, it is vital that we save as many patches of undeveloped land as we can to try to save some of our fast disappearing fauna and flora. So often a likely site for a car park etc is built up before any necessary surveys are done at the appropriate times of the year for protected species of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and plants that might be found there. That a designated nature reserve, a site of special scientific interest, like Riverside Nature Park, could be abused in this way by such an unsympathetic development beggars belief. We must stand together and fight the tremendous increase of official vandalising of our wildlife hot spots. Frank D Bowles.37 Albany Terrace,Dundee. Inadvertent help to raise money Sir, - The article about Martha Payne in the magazine section of Saturday's Courier (November 24) was a fine tribute to what that young lassie achieved and inspired through her blog "NeverSeconds". It was also a reminder that all too often the initial instinct of bureaucracies is to shoot the messenger, rather than first investigate to see if there is some substance to someone's point of view or God forbid actually a requirement or opportunity to improve the ways they carry out their functions. Martha's initiative does her great credit, but the irony is that if her headmaster and Argyll and Bute Council had actually encouraged, rather than attempted to suppress, her endeavours the charity "Mary's Meal's" wouldn't have received more than £100,000 in worldwide donations. Well done them for being such effective fundraisers! Jamie Gardner.Adventures In Golf(UK) Ltd,129a South Street,St Andrews. Funds must be found for V&A Sir, - I was about to write to The Courier regarding my thoughts on the revised V&A design compromise, when I read Jim Crumley's article (November 20). I would have written along the following lines. Once more, Dundee has been faced with a compromise on cost grounds. The winning design was dynamic, spectacular and exciting, which is why so many of us chose it. The V&A team assure us that it is still the same building as the one originally chosen and it undoubtedly is, but all the impact of its position over the water will be lost and, once more, Dundonians will be left with a building, fit for purpose, but not of the international status originally intended. This building, together with the other works at the landfall, will give Dundee a much improved image, but funds should be found to ensure that the V&A project is built as originally intended. Alfred Malocco.27 Craigie Hill,Drumoig, Fife. Is this what awaits us? Sir, - During my stay in Latvia and Lithuania last July, people I met there told me they had wanted their countries to have NATO membership simply to prevent Russia from ever taking over their countries again. However, NATO has compelled them to send their soldiers to Afghanistan. Soldiers from an earlier era of course had been conscripted into the Soviet army and sent to Afghanistan, so they know very well that the war in that country cannot be won. I fear that if any future independent Scotland remains in NATO it will be compelled to take part in equally futile and pointless wars. Robin Bell.27 Morgan Street,Dundee. Poor markings add to danger Sir, - Driving back in the dark from a concert in Perth last week, I was most disturbed to see how few "cat's eyes" there were on long stretches of the road. Line markings were also worn and faint. It struck me how even more dangerous it must be in foggy conditions. How do we go about having this recognised as a local priority before more lives are lost on this notorious road? Dr Norma H Smith.7 Adelaide Terrace,Dundee. 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.

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.


A job to get her teeth into – ‘A tremendously exciting time for the food and drink industry in Fife’

February 22 2016

For centuries Fife’s food and drink has been linked through land and sea to international trade, fishing and agriculture. In Crail, for example, the town’s unique weathervane depicts the capon, a unique sun dried haddock from the East Neuk, dating back to the 9th century when Crail had the largest medieval market place in Europe. In the 13th century, the Firth of Forth’s long-gone oyster fishery was one of the most commercially important in Scotland, trading with the continent. Fife sailing drifter The Reaper is testimony to a bygone era when Anstruther was Scotland’s main herring port. And Lindores Abbey near Newburgh is said to be the oldest recorded distilling site in Scotland, dating back to 1494. Today, despite the decline of the fishing industry, the food and drink sector still brings millions of pounds into Fife and provides thousands of jobs. From agriculture to prawn fisheries, micro-breweries to distilleries, and home grown vineyards to buffalo, there is a feel good factor about Fife’s food and drink industry right now. So it seems appropriate that Martha Bryce, the newly appointed coordinator of Fife’s food network, Food from Fife, should herself be from a pioneering Fife food background as efforts are made to help food and tourism businesses work better together. The part-time position within the not for profit membership organisation has been made possible with funding from Fife Council. Now efforts are being made to boost funding from membership, as Food from Fife, established in 2010, seeks to develop its membership base with a range of activity in support of its aims. Martha, 36, grew up on the family farm which became Fletchers of Auchermuchty, famous for its deer herd. From a young age she helped sell venison at farmers’ markets. In the early 1990s, the firm became the smallest business to win the Queen’s Award for Enterprise and was the first commercial deer farm in Europe. After studying for a postgraduate degree in tourism at Strathclyde University, she joined Edinburgh and Lothians Tourist Board (later Visit Scotland) as a PR, working in the international marketing team for southern Europe. Her aim was to promote Scotland in Europe but she discovered many foreign visitors coming here had low expectations about the native food. However, over the last 10 years, she said Scottish food businesses had definitely become “more adventurous” in their promotion of seasonal and local fresh food and the reputation of Scotland as an “anything with chips” type of place was changing. She said Fife in particular was now a “tremendously exciting” centre for the food and drink industry and the reasons for this were plentiful. “The first thing is the seafood heritage, particularly shellfish, “she said. “That’s one of the things that really makes Fife stand out when it comes to food tourism. “Then we’ve got new distilleries and microbreweries springing up. “You can walk the Fife Coastal Path and take in the like of Kingsbarns Distillery and the Eden Brewery. “Then we’ve got then economic impact of big players like Stephens the bakers and Kettle Produce. “Other areas would give their eye teeth to have what Fife has. “Fife is home to one of the strongest and most interesting food and drink industries in Scotland and combined with the tourism sector, it plays a powerful role in the identity and economic success of the region.” Martha’s appointment comes as Food from Fife announces a networking event for members and for those interested in joining. Membership is available on three tiers (starting at £60) to ensure it’s accessible to all sizes of business. The networking event is scheduled for the evening of February 25 at Kingsbarns Distillery and is free of charge. The evening will include the opportunity to see round the new distillery, hear more on Scotland’s Year of Innovation and meet the team behind Food from Fife. It is open to food and drink businesses, those working in the hospitality industry or those who are simply interested in meeting other businesses in the trade. The current board membership comprise John Whitehead of Food & Drink Exporters Association (Chair); Cameron Laird of Cairnie Fruit Farm; Nikki Storrar of Ardross Farm Shop; Tom Mitchell of Puddledub Pork (and Chairman Fife Farmers’ Markets); and Will Docker of Balgove Larder. To find out more about Food from Fife membership, or the February 25 networking event, contact Martha via Martha@foodfromfife.co.uk


‘He’s a lucky boy’ — owners recall miracle moment dog is brought back from the dead

May 24 2017

A Fife vet's was the scene of a heart-stopping moment after an elderly dog was brought back from the dead. Now an Inglis vet and nurse duo have been commended for their fast action in bringing 17-year-old crossbreed Taz back to life. Owners Ian and Jackie Mackay feared they would have to say goodbye to their beloved pet when he started making retching noises and foaming at the mouth just moments after snacking on one of his favourite treats — a piece of apple. Taz was quickly rushed to Inglis Vets Hospital in Dunfermline where it was discovered the apple core had become lodged in his throat. Just minutes after arriving, Taz’s heart stopped beating. After rushing him to the consulting room, the apple was carefully removed by veterinary surgeon Laura Dugdale, before veterinary nurse Martha McShane performed CPR. Martha said when Taz arrived he was very pale and gasping for air, and then his heart stopped. “Thankfully, Laura was quickly able to prise the apple piece out of his throat and then she brought him through to the prep room to start chest compressions. “I then took over and performed a round of CPR and mouth to nose breaths. “This lasted for several minutes until Taz thankfully regained consciousness and sat up.” She added it was lucky his owner got him to the practice so quickly otherwise he may not have been so fortunate. Laura added: “Unfortunately, it can be easy for dogs to choke on the likes of apples and we would always recommend pet owners be selective with the treats they give and always supervise their pet eating. “Both Martha and I were just so happy Taz pulled through — he’s definitely a lucky boy.” An incredibly relieved Mr and Mrs Mackay said Taz was now in his senior years and his eyesight and balance weren’t too great. “After fetching the piece of apple, he stumbled and fell and we think that’s what caused him to choke,” said Ian. Thinking it was “going to be the end” the couple prepared themselves for the worst. “We couldn’t believe it when they told us he had pulled through, we were amazed.” Taz is their “miracle” as they rehomed him at the age of nine when they were living in America. He was timid because he’d been badly treated at his last home. “Now at 17, he’s incredibly full of life and we’re overjoyed to have been given more time with him," Jackie said. “We are extremely grateful to the team at Inglis, they are just amazing and we will be forever thankful for what they did for Taz.”

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk