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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...

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.

Dundee

Crowds brave the rain for Armed Forces Day parade in Dundee

July 2 2012

Resplendent in red tunics and bearskin helmets, the 1st Battalion Scots Guards brought Dundee city centre to a standstill on Saturday for a celebration of the country's armed forces. In front of thousands of onlookers they marched to the City Square along with representatives of HMS Duncan, RAF Leuchars, cadets and veterans in a spectacle capped by a flypast of four Typhoon aircraft by 6 Squadron from the Fife airbase. It did rain at the end of Dundee's parade, but the downpour did not dampen the spirits of the dignitaries, service personnel and crowd at the colourful, hour-long ceremony. Dundee was one of four main Scottish venues for Armed Forces Day, an annual occasion for the nation to show its support for the men and women who make up the armed forces community serving personnel, their families, veterans and cadets. The parade including contingents from HMS Duncan and RAF Leuchars, members of local territorial forces, veterans' associations and cadet forces marched from the High School of Dundee down Reform Street to the City Square. They were followed by the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, led by their pipes and drums, who paraded from St Andrew's Church via Cowgate, Panmure Street and Albert Square and down Reform Street.Click here for a full photo galleryThe salute was taken by Lord Provost Bob Duncan accompanied by the Scots Guards' regimental lieutenant colonel, Brigadier GHFS Nickerson, and Vic Herd, president of the City of Dundee Combined Ex-Services Association. They inspected the parade and presented veterans' badges before returning to the platform where, after speeches, the gathering sang the hymn Abide With Me. The event ended at 1.20pm with a flypast of Typhoons from Leuchars, which later performed the same role at the end of the parades in Edinburgh and Glasgow. Mr Duncan said: ''Nothing stirs the heart more than the sight of the immaculately-turned-out soldiers, sailors and airmen of our armed forces.'' Casting his eye over the rows of men and women in uniform, he added: ''Everyone here today is a credit to the country. You do us all very proud.'' The honour of marching through Dundee is usually reserved for The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland who have been awarded the freedom of the city. ''But the 1st Battalion Scots Guards provided a great spectacle, led by their magnificent pipes and drums, marching through the city with drums beating, colours flying and bayonets fixed,'' Mr Duncan said. ''This colourful and enjoyable day is the perfect opportunity for local people and visitors to show their support for the men and women who make up our armed forces.'' Lieutenant Colonel Robert Howieson, commanding officer of the 1st Battalion Scots Guards, said: ''We were honoured to take part in Dundee's Armed Forces Day celebrations. It was great to see everyone taking part in the parade, especially the army cadets and their outstanding pipes and drums. ''These celebrations have allowed us to build on our strong bond with the city and have enabled us to thank all the people for their unstinting support throughout the years.'' The day culminated with a heroes concert at the Caird Hall, with all proceeds going to armed forces charities.

News

Cadets welcome Lorraine Kelly to Burns Supper

January 26 2011

There was a touch of glamour to The Black Watch Battalion Army Cadet Force's Burns Supper as they paid host to a celebrity guest. TV personality and honorary colonel of the cadet force, Lorraine Kelly, was at the Dunkeld Cadet Training Centre to join in with the traditional meal, which also marked the first performance of the force band. Staff Sergeant William Freeman from Kinross was also presented with his cadet forces medal, which recognises 12 years' service. Ms Kelly said, "What a fabulous event it has been. "The pipe band get better every year and now they are joined by the Regimental Band. "I am amazed what young people in the Army Cadet Force can do and I am only too pleased to support the cadets and encourage other young people to join them."

Angus & The Mearns

Stonehaven Sea Cadets stalwart Mags Black

October 17 2017

Magdalene Black, a stalwart of Stonehaven’s Sea Cadets for four decades, has died aged 71 after a long battle with ill health. Mags, as she was known to all, was born and raised in the town, attending Fetteresso Primary and the old Mackie Academy on Arduthie Road. She worked at Arduthie Hospital after leaving school, but spent the majority of her working life at Abertay Papersacks at Mugiemoss in Aberdeen. Her involvement with the Stonehaven Sea Cadet unit began in 1977 when she began teaching first aid to the girls of the corps. Mags held many roles in the local organisation including Officer Commanding Girls Nautical Training Corps, influencing many young lives of those who attended T S Carron. She was also girls’ district officer, becoming assistant district officer in 1992 with the merger of the Girls Nautical Training service and Sea Cadets, before moving on to the role of district officer Grampian and then area recreational officer for the Northern Area until 2002. Mags served in the management committee of Stonehaven unit until October 2016, when ill health finally ended her active association with the cadets. However she and husband George remained loyal, hardworking supporters of T S Carron and Mags attended this year’s National combined regatta in London to supporting the local cadets. She was awarded the coveted Sea Cadet Medal by the organisation in recognition of her outstanding service over such a lengthy period.

Angus & The Mearns

Changing of the guardhouse for young Angus cadets

November 30 2016

Uniformed cadets in Arbroath will be given a 21st Century base of operations as part of reserve and cadet reform. Timber-framed “Spooner” huts sprang up across Scotland in the 1950s and 60s as the Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps looked to accommodate its young people. The Highland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association has now decided those huts are “past their sell-by date” and is embarking on a programme of modernisation to present best value to the taxpayer. Its hut and range in Arbroath, presently used by Royal Artillery and Black Watch cadets, will be demolished and replaced next year, following planning approval by Angus Council. Head of estates with the Highland Reserve Force and Cadets Association, Randall Christie, said the 2242 ATC squadron huts in Hayshead Road will also be demolished as its cadets will move in with The Black Watch. The Royal Artillery cadets will be housed at the Army Reserve Centre building in Montrose Road. He said: “The Charles Avenue centre was built in the mid-1960s and is a timber-framed Spooner hut, similar to a number of other buildings across our estate. “Like them, it was put on the estate to provide accommodation for the Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps. “It’s now past its sell-by date. The existing centre will be replaced by a building of twice the size and it will be for both the cadets and corps, which will allow us to dispose of the site at Hayshead Road in Arbroath. “Refurbishing a Spooner hut is almost as expensive as building a new one. “This new build will be up to current standards, energy efficient, and will give a good public image of the uniformed services. “The taxpayer who funds these buildings gets a better deal.” Construction is due to start in the first quarter of 2017. The new accommodation will be good news for Angus Air Cadets, who were told this year that they would no longer be able to take advantage of the glider squadron on their doorstep as part of a Ministry of Defence reorganisation. The 662 Volunteer Glider Squadron, based at RM Condor, was one of the many glider squadrons affected by the announcement of the Air Cadet Aviation Relaunch made by the MoD.

News

Black Watch cadets back from summer camp in England

July 30 2010

Around 300 cadets from The Black Watch Battalion Army Cadet Force have recently returned from a week-long summer camp at Altcar, near Liverpool. Drawn from all over Perth and Kinross and Fife, the cadets attended the event in their company groups to take part in a series of activities. The camp included watermanship, an indoor climbing wall, ranges and two-day fieldcraft exercise, as well as drill competitions and clay target shooting. The week ended with the Battalion Presentation Parade, led by Cadet RSM Ross Brown from Auchterarder and attended by the Deputy Mayor of Sefton, Councillor Paul Cummins.

Farming news

Aberdeen-Angus DNA test hailed by Victor Wallace

February 13 2015

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

Perth & Kinross

Black Watch cadet force provides day of discovery for pupils

April 9 2011

The Black Watch Battalion Army Cadet Force Outreach Project, which is based in Blairgowrie, held its Discovery Day at Dunkeld. Nearly 60 pupils from Alyth, Coupar Angus and Rattray primary schools along with their head teachers and staff took part in the citizenship and team-building day. The project is a youth diversion project, supported by a partnership formed from The Black Watch Army Cadet Force, Tayside Police and the three primary schools. For their day at Dunkeld, the youngsters took part in first aid, cooking in the field, erecting tents, introduction to fieldcraft and command tasks. The participants were assisted by cadets from the Blairgowrie detachment, many of whom are past participants of the project. The guest of honour was Brigadier Mel Jameson, Lord Lieutenant for Perth and Kinross, who presented youngsters with project sweatshirts on completing the Discovery Day. He said, "This is a marvellous project, which has been so successful in recent years. The youngsters obviously enjoy and benefit from the activities provided and their communities owe a debt of thanks to the teachers, police officers and army cadet staff who run this project for the benefit of all."

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