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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...


New leads in Sandy Drummond murder case

March 28 2016

Police have thanked the public for bringing forward new information in the quest to solve a 25-year-old murder case. Claimed to be Fife’s only unsolved homicide, Sandy Drummond was found strangled outside his Boarhills cottage in June 1991. Nobody has ever been traced in connection with the crime, however, almost a quarter of a century on, officers responsible for reviewing the murder say they have been encouraged by the public response to an article that appeared in The Courier last month. Detective Chief Inspector Maxine Martin of the Specialist Crime Division, based at Gartcosh, said: “We’ve received an excellent response from the public since the publication of the recent Courier article and I thank everyone who has taken the time to come forward. “At this time we’re still assessing the relevance of the new information provided, however I believe that the answers to Sandy’s death lie in the local community.” Mr Drummond’s body was found by an elderly walker just 200 yards from the cottage that he shared with his brother James. At first a senior officer at Fife Constabulary believed that the former Black Watch soldier had died of natural causes, though it soon became apparent that foul play had been involved. Mr Drummond was described as a loner and a man with no enemies. As police investigated his death, it soon emerged that a series of strange events had occurred in Mr Drummond’s life prior to his killing. He had worked at the Guardbridge Paper Mill before handing in his notice just days before he was murdered. He also withdrew hundreds of pounds of savings, almost all of which was recovered when police searched his home, ruling out robbery as a motive. The investigation also uncovered rumours of a car an orange or red Morris Marina being seen regularly outside his home, and a neighbour spotting Mr Drummond depositing a holdall in the countryside, though both reports failed to generate any leads. The Courier reported on the mystery last month in the lead-up to the 25th anniversary of Mr Drummond’s murder, an article that prompted members of the public to come forward with new information for the police. Mrs Martin said all submissions would be studied accordingly, adding: “Time is no barrier and we will act on all information that is passed to us.”

UK & World

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.

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


Fintry glass attacker ordered to pay £1000 compensation after leaving 78-year-old scarred

May 23 2016

A thug who glassed a 78-year-old man following a bizarre bar-room brawl - leaving the OAP scarred - has avoided jail. Kenneth Thomson attacked Henry Heenan at the Dolphin Bar in Dundee’s Fintry area just before Christmas last year. Thomson had asked the OAP to borrow cash - then later went back for more, causing an argument to break out. Sheriff Lorna Drummond QC placed Thomson on an electronic tag restricting him to his home from 7pm to 7am for four months. He was also ordered to pay a £650 fine and £1000 in compensation to Mr Heenan.


Dundee man breached bail with drugs and illicit encounter

January 20 2014

Police found “an adult-sized lump” under the covers in a man’s bed while searching for drugs, Dundee Sheriff Court has heard. The “lump” turned out to be the girlfriend of a man who was banned from approaching her as a condition of his bail order. Kevin Wright, 27, of Hilltown, was arrested by police after they found Abi Drummond in his bedroom, along with a quantity of cannabis in his living room. Wright admitted breaching the bail condition on Thursday at Hilltown by possessing cannabis and by allowing Ms Drummond to enter his home and to stay overnight. Depute fiscal Beverley Adam said police had stopped him in the street at about 11.15am and he had dropped a rolled cigarette which smelled of cannabis. He was also smelling strongly of the drug and, while nothing was found in his possession when they searched him, he appeared nervous, she said. He allowed police to accompany him to his flat in Hilltown, but on entering the living room he grabbed a jumper and threw it on top of a table. Police had seen a quantity of herbal substance there, which was cannabis valued at £313. “They checked the premises and in a bedroom they saw an adult-sized lump under the bedclothes,” Ms Adam said. The person was identified as Ms Drummond and Wright was detained. Solicitor Gary McIlravey said his client had had “no choice” in the matter as she had pursued him from the minute he was granted bail. He said Wright had tried to ignore Ms Drummond’s approaches but had eventually given in when she came to his door and banged and shouted through the letterbox to let her in. “He was pursued by the complainer, who wanted to rekindle the relationship,” Mr McIlravey said. Sheriff Richard Davidson said: “Clearly she was in your house and I’m entitled to assume that she sought you out.” He said he would “reluctantly” grant Wright bail, but this time with a curfew, and deferred sentence for reports until February 13.

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.

Take A Hike

A clearing in the woods

August 5 2017

Rising from the north-east shoreline of Loch Tay, Drummond Hill is a sturdy little peak lost to forestry. Engulfed by evergreens, the regimented rows of conifers ensure views from its slopes are scant. There is, however, one craggy bluff protruding from the trees – Black Rock – where the vista over Loch Tay and the picturesque village of Kenmore ranks among the best in Highland Perthshire. Drummond Hill has long languished under woodland. It was probably the site of Scotland’s first managed forest, originally planted out with Scots pine, oak and birch by Sir Duncan Campbell, 7th Laird of Glenorchy, back in the 17th Century. Today, it remains a source of timber, one now managed by the Forestry Commission. It was also the place chosen for the re-introduction to Scotland of the capercaillie in 1837. Over hunting and the loss of forest habitat drove the bird to extinction in the mid-18th Century. Teetering on the brink of annihilation once again, Drummond Hill is one of the few places in the country where this elusive member of the grouse family clings precariously to existence. The direct ascent from Kenmore to Black Rock Viewpoint is short but strenuous and I opted instead for a longer, more leisurely approach, following the River Tay downstream from 18th century Kenmore Bridge before entering the plantation at Peeler Gate. Wandering along the grassy riverbank, the way rises into the wooded policies of Taymouth Castle, the 19th century mansion sitting across the water. Lurking amid the trees on this side of the river, Maxwell’s Temple is one of several follies to be found scattered through the grounds. It was erected in 1831 by the fourth Earl of Breadalbane as a memorial to his wife, Mary, and was inspired by the Eleanor crosses commissioned by King Edward I as a tribute to his late wife. Ahead, running through a band of oak, beech, sycamore and rhododendron, the path, perched on a terrace above the river, offered Victorian visitors to the estate a pleasant promenade. Following in the footsteps of the gentry, I passed above the currently closed Chinese Bridge – a crossing point to Taymouth Castle – and proceeded round to Star Battery, a viewpoint with crenellated walls that, in its day, posted a very agreeable vista over the castle and its gardens. Today, the battery is slowly crumbling and trees obscure the scene. The path swings left at this point and, beyond a quaint little wooden cabin, strays away from the Tay, crossing farmland to the base of Drummond Hill. Peeler Gate, at the northern end of the hill, offers access to the forest, the track looping up past a small parking area to a rather messy intersection above a gate. Keep left, ignoring tracks branching right, and the plantation road leads south-west, a couple of lengthy inclines eventually topping out at a crossroads above Kenmore where a sign confirms the onward route to the viewpoint. Lying just off the track, and helpfully signed once again, the walled lookout sits atop a rocky outcrop, a window framed by Scots pine and larch offering nothing short of a breath-taking bird’s eye view. Far below me, Loch Tay shimmered in the sunlight, Kenmore, with its white kirk, white-washed cottages and well-tended greens, a perfect village in miniature from my elevated vantage point.   ROUTE 1. Follow Aberfeldy Road (A827) through Kenmore and over Kenmore Bridge. 2. At northern end of bridge, turn right along riverside path (signed for Comrie Bridge and Aberfeldy). Pass chalet park on left and ascend into woodland, ignoring path branching right. 3. Ignore path branching left (signed Drummond Hill Paths) and continue ahead on path running above river. 4. Pass round locked gate and, approaching road, bear right along parallel path. 5. Go through gap in wall, cross road and ascend forest track to Peeler Gate car park. Continue up track to junction. 6. Ignoring tracks branching right, bear left and continue ahead on forest track. 7. At track crossroads, continue ahead to Black Rock Viewpoint (signed). 8. Return to point 7, turn right and descend to car park. 9. Branch right at gate, descend path to road and turn right, following minor road then A827 back to Kenmore.   INFORMATION Distance: 10.5km/6½ miles Ascent: 350m/1155ft Time: 3 hours Grading: Moderately easy, low level route following riverside paths and forest tracks with some strenuous and prolonged ascent on the latter. Stout footwear recommended as some parts can be muddy underfoot Start/finish: Public car park (Pay and Display) on Pier Road, Kenmore (Grid ref: NN 773453) Map: Ordnance Survey 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 52; Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer sheet 379 Tourist Information: Aberfeldy iCentre, The Square, Aberfeldy PH15 2DD (Tel 01877 820276) Public transport: Caber Coaches bus service 91 links Aberfeldy and Kenmore on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays only


The Broons to appear on Dundee stage during nationwide tour

May 3 2016

Scotland’s most famous fictitious family will pay a visit to their home city as part of a new tour. The Broons, who have been featured in the Sunday Post for 80 years, are making their onstage debut for a nationwide series of performances later this year. Granpaw, Maw, Paw and the rest of the Glebe Street family will appear in theatres across Scotland, including Dundee’s Gardyne Theatre, between September and November. David Hutchinson, artistic director of Sell a Door Theatre Company, said: “Rob Drummond’s new stage play is going to be a theatrical experience to remember, paying homage to the decades of excellent comic writing. “We've been discussing bringing The Broons to the stage for a while, and have been waiting for the right playwright and timing. The Broons are more than just a cherished family, they are a national institution that have stood the test of time and have struck a chord with generation after generation inside and outside of Scotland."


Police vow to crack 25-year Fife murder mystery that left bereaved mum feeling ‘a thousand years old’

February 15 2016

Officially it is classed as Fife’s only unsolved murder, but 25 years after the brutal strangling of Sandy Drummond police say they remain hopeful of bringing his killer to justice. Discovered outside of his cottage in the sleepy hamlet of Boarhills in June 1991, the 33-year-old had been strangled, his body left on a farm track just yards from his front door. With nobody ever traced in connection with the death and several bizarre events surrounding the paper mill worker’s movements in the days before, many theories have been developed over the years as to why Mr Drummond may have been targeted, and who may have wanted him dead. However, as the 25th anniversary of the crime approaches, officers responsible for reviewing the murder say they have not given up hope of tracing the killer. Detective Chief Inspector Maxine Martin told The Courier: “The murder of Sandy Drummond is recorded as an undetected murder on the Scottish Homicide Database. “As such it is subject to regular and ongoing review by staff to identify any new available investigative opportunities. “Police Scotland work in close partnership with staff from the Cold Case Unit to regularly review cases to ascertain if there are any new evidential developments, including advances in forensic techniques, which would assist in providing a basis for criminal proceedings.” Mr Drummond’s body was found by an elderly walker just 200 yards from the cottage that he shared with his brother James. At first a senior officer at Fife Constabulary believed that the former Black Watch soldier had died of natural causes, though it soon became apparent that foul play had been involved. Though police are not actively pursuing lines of inquiry almost 25 years on, Chief Inspector Martin added that scientific advances could hold the key to eventually catching Mr Drummond’s killer. “The passage of time is no barrier to providing answers for the families of murder victims in Scotland,” she added. “If anyone has any new information that could assist the investigation then please contact police.”Mother went to her grave not knowingThe murder of her son was to haunt Sandy’s mother, Effie Drummond, until her death in 1996. At the forefront of efforts to have his killer traced, Mrs Drummond campaigned tirelessly for a fatal accident inquiry to be held into her son’s death, which took place in Cupar in September 1992. However, no explanation for Mr Drummond’s death emerged from the proceedings and, despite her appeals, Mrs Drummond died broken hearted and without ever finding out what happened to her boy. The last time she saw Sandy was the evening before his murder, as he kissed her goodbye before riding off on his motorcycle. He had been visiting his parents, who lived just a mile away from his cottage in Boarhills, and had been due to return for dinner the following evening. In an interview from 1993, she told of how her son’s murder had broken her heart, saying: “My life now is agony. The strain makes me feel a thousand years old. The longing to touch him and see him smile is unbearable. “Sandy was the best son a mother could have. “I was afraid for his life when he went to Northern Ireland with the army, but I never imagined that he would be in danger at home.”Character changed in days before deathHe was described as a loner, a man with no enemies and known to be quiet and intelligent. Living with his brother in a small cottage at Boarhills, near St Andrews, Sandy Drummond was the last person who would fit the profile of a murder victim. Yet on June 24 1991, the body of the 33-year-old was discovered just yards from his front door. Though there was no outside physical signs to suggest murder, medical examinations found that Mr Drummond had died of asphyxiation, with extensive damage to his neck muscles indicating strangulation. As police investigated, it soon emerged that a series of strange events had occurred in Mr Drummond’s life prior to his death. A former Black Watch soldier, he had worked at the Guardbridge Paper Mill before handing in his notice just days before he was killed. Having been described by his mother, Effie, as a carefree countryman, Sandy’s personality was said to have changed dramatically before his death, becoming worried and contemplative. After resigning from his labourer position at the mill, Sandy was captured on CCTV at building societies in St Andrews withdrawing hundreds of pounds of savings, almost all of which was recovered when police searched his home and ruling out robbery as a motive. The investigation also uncovered rumours of a car, an orange or red Morris Marina, being seen regularly outside his home, and a neighbour spotting Mr Drummond depositing a holdall in the countryside, though both reports failed to generate any leads. An appeal on the television show Crimewatch also failed to identify any suspects. With no new leads, the investigation remains dormant and Mr Drummond’s killer at large. Anyone with information can contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.