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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...


Dundee University helps create world’s largest marine nature reserve

March 18 2015

Research carried out by University of Dundee helped convince the UK government to create the world’s largest marine nature reserve around the Pitcairn Islands. The plan to create a Marine Protected Area (MPA) around the four islands was announced by Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget. A satellite “watchroom” will now be created to monitor 322,000 square miles of water in order to prevent illegal fishing. Dundee University’s Terry Dawson, professor of global environmental change at the School of Environment, was responsible for developing a community-led marine management action plan for the islands while the university itself was lead research institution on the project, funded by the UK Government’s Darwin Initiative. He is an expert on biodiversity and published a book on the marine life of Pitcairn through Dundee University Press. Pitcairn’s waters host some of the best-preserved marine ecosystems on the planet and are of globally significant biological value. Over 1,200 marine species have been recorded around Pitcairn, including whales and dolphins, 365 species of fish, turtles, seabirds and corals. Forty-eight of these species are globally threatened, such as the critically endangered hawksbill turtle, while others, like the Pitcairn angelfish, are not found anywhere else on Earth. Pitcairn’s waters will become off-limits to all extractive and damaging activities, offering protection from overfishing and illegal pirate fishing, as well as from deep-sea mining exploration, pollution and climate change. Professor Dawson said: “Last year we submitted a policy document and to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Zac Goldsmith MP took up our case and was able to help push it through. “One of the big problems is the islands are so remote. The greatest risk is illegal line fishing from Asia and Spain. “Because there are high seas around it where they can fish they just come in and do what they like.” About 60 people live on Pitcairn Island, most of whom are descended from the Bounty mutineers of 1790 and Tahitians. A statement from the Pitcairn Island Council said: “The people of Pitcairn are extremely excited about designation of the world’s largest marine reserve in our vast and unspoiled waters of the Pitcairn Islands, including Ducie, Oeno and Henderson Islands. “We are proud to have developed and led this effort in partnership with Pew and National Geographic to protect these spectacular waters we call home for generations to come.”


Exhibition featuring human skeletons branded ‘moral abuse’

March 1 2014

A claim that a forthcoming exhibition featuring two human skeletons is “immoral” has been vehemently rejected. Voices From the Past: Life and Death in Medieval Dunfermline opens at Abbot House Heritage Centre in the town next month, featuring the human remains of two individuals. The bones were unearthed during the early 1990s when new pipes were being laid at the eastern end of the property. Fife Council and Fife Cultural Trust loaned them to Abbot House Heritage Centre, where they remain in storage. The skeletons will be put on show from April 25 by the trustees of Abbot House, led by Abbot House director Dr Devon McHugh, as part of an exhibition that aims to demonstrate, through human osteology, the way in which people lived and died in medieval Dunfermline. The move has been criticised by former honorary past president of Dunfermline Heritage Trust Sheila Pitcairn, who believes the exhibition constitutes “moral abuse”. She said: “It is not good practice to retain human remains. There is a very clear code of professional conduct relating to the treatment of human remains... and, as a past chair and honorary member of Dunfermline Heritage Trust, I object strongly to these skeletons being put on display.” Responding to Ms Pitcairn’s concerns, Fife Council archaeologist Douglas Speirs, who has been heavily involved in various excavations projects at Abbot House over the years, stressed the display of the skeletons would be carried out in a “thoughtful, ethical and professional” manner, and praised the work of Dr McHugh and the trustees. “Of course, Sheila raises a very important point about the issue of the display of human skeletal material,” he told The Courier. “This is a subject that has been at the core of ethical thinking in archaeology for decades and consequently there is a wealth of best practice guidance and legislation governing exactly how, when and why human remains aredisplayed for archaeological, educational and research purposes. “If the material was being used in an inappropriate manner, then I would be the first to complain but it’s not. “A limited amount of material will be temporarily displayed for educational purposes to illustrate the nature of archaeological evidence available for the study of Dunfermline’s past and the material will be displayed in a sensitive and professional manner. “Indeed, it could be argued that not to include such material in the forthcoming exhibition would be to present a partial picture of the nature of archaeological inquiry. I would urge members of the public to visit the exhibition and make their own minds up.” There will be an invitation-only launch party for the exhibition on Thursday April 24.

Muckhart mare queen of Coalsnaughton

July 16 2015

Competitors enjoyed a bright, if slightly breezy day at the Central Scotland Shetland Pony Group’s second Spring Show hosted at Coalsnaughton, Tillicoultry. Supreme champion of the in-hand entry for 2015 was Warrackston Guylian from local breeders J&G Wilson, of Leys Farm, Muckhart, Dollar. This 10-year-old mare, sired by Titus of Hutton and out of Gatebeck Crystal Gleam, was shown for Jim by his granddaughter Lisa Wilson. Guylian was accompanied in the show ring by her April-born colt foal Myreton Glenfiddoch her first male offspring, following a line of five fillies. Prior to this show season, this coloured mare lifted the supreme championship at the 2014 CSSPG Summer Show, was reserve supreme at Neilston, stood best of the breed at the Royal Northern Spring Show and was reserve champion at Fife and Central and West Fife shows. In 2013, she took the breed championship at Kirriemuir and was supreme overall horse at Moniaive. Progressing as top of the miniature ring to stand reserve overall was Shearer Pitcairn’s Eiger Nijinsky, from Alloway Drive, Kirkintilloch. This four-year-old bay stallion, sired by Eiger Charlier and bred out of Eiger Imagene, recently won his class and lifted the reserve breed champion at Neilston Show. The show was adjudicated by Rowena Proven (standards) and Joy Barugh (miniatures). equestrian@thecourier.co.uk RESULTS Supreme: J & G Wilson, Warrackston Guylian. Reserve: R S Pitcairn, Eiger Nijinsky. Overall junior: Eynhallow Stud, Eynhallow Dew. Reserve: G McIntosh, Ardanbeag Highlander. Standard. Champion: J & G Wilson, Warrackston Guylian. Reserve: D Lochtie, Hawkdale Dixie. Junior champion: Eynhallow Stud, Eynhallow Dew. Reserve: L Wilson, Cassindilly Roxy.Stallion: 1 Mawcarse Shetlands, Mawcarse Earl; 2 K & A Scott, Kerryston Theodore; 3 E Glacken, Struie Daz. Gelding: L Wilson, Oakley of Auckhorn; 2 I Mackenzie, Headowork Trademark; 3 K & A Scott, Kerryston Ernest. Brood/yeld mare: 1 J & G Wilson, Warrackston Guylian; 2 D Lochtie, Hawkdale Dixie; 3 Eynhallow Shetlands, Eynhallow Celia. Foal: 1 J & G Wilson, Myreton Glenfiddich; 2 Mawcarse Shetlands, Mawcarse Joules. Two or three-year-old: 1 L Wilson, Cassindilly Roxy; 2 Almondell Shetlands, Almondell Lucinda; 3 Eynhallow Stud, Eynhallow Linny. Yearling: 1 Eynhallow Stud, Eynhallow Dew; 2 D Lochtie, Mawcarse Lord Daiquiri; 3 Almondell Shetlands, Almondell Vazon. Miniature. Champion: R S Pitcairn, Eiger Nijinsky. Reserve: M Scott, Milday Love Me. Junior champion: G McIntosh, Ardanbeag Highlander. Reserve: J & G Wilson, Myreton Calamity. Stallion: 1 R S Pitcairn, Eiger Nijinsky; 2 J & G Wilson, Myreton Dougal. Gelding: 1 Robin’s Brae Pacey, Robin’s Brae Shetlands. Brood/yeld mare: 1 M Scott, Milday Love Me; 2 A Stewart, Narinian Cuckoo; 3 M Scott, Milday Nina. Foal: 1 J & G Wilson, Myreton Calamity; 2 A Stewart, Elcho. Two or three-year-old: 1 J Lawrie, Milday Popsit; 2 G McIntosh, Ardanbeag Fairy’s Radish. Yearling: 1 G McIntosh, Ardanbeag Highlander; 2 K & A Scott, Kerryston Eddie; 3 J Lawrie, Milday Mr Coco.


Dunfermline Abbey nave petition to mark royal burials

January 30 2017

A petition to honour the royal tombs at Dunfermline Abbey Nave has been submitted to the Scottish Parliament. Royal Tombs Dunfermline, which is chaired by local historian Sheila Pitcairn, has support from Dunfermline central councillor Neale Hanvey, as well as local MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville and MP Douglas Chapman. Its aim is to promote the rich history of Scotland’s ancient capital. The group wants the Scottish Parliament to consider funding plaques to mark where the 11 royal burials are in the abbey nave, which is managed by Historic Environment Scotland. Ms Pitcairn’s organisation also wants to see that action supported through a business-tourism strategy. “Dunfermline Abbey, the royal sepulture of Scotland, contains at least 21 royal burials,” she said. The community projects group of the organisation have been petitioning for the 11 buried in the nave to be marked. “Locals and visitors would love to know where these royal burials are in the nave, and more about who they were.” More than 3,000 signatures have been submitted on the petition from around the world and taking it to the Scottish Parliament, where it will be considered by the public petitions committee, was another positive step, she added. There is also a meeting planned with HES and now the group said it needs “all of your support to get this project working for Dunfermline and for Scotland’s history.” Mr Hanvey said the nave was a place of unique and distinctive royal heritage and a “must see” for those who are interested in Scotland’s history. “I’m determined to ensure that as a town we are making the most of this nationally significant historic attraction,” he said, adding discussions had already been held with HES to find ways to work together to ensure the best possible visitor experience at the nave. Local MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville added: “I’ve had productive discussions with Royal Tombs Dunfermline and Historic Environment Scotland about how we can further promote the abbey nave, as well as improve access and the visitor experience. “I’m particularly keen to ensure that local children have the opportunity to visit the magnificent nave, and I have written to local headteachers, to draw their attention toward Historic Environment Scotland’s scheme which enables schools to visit the nave for free.”

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.

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

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.


Award-winning Tayside song writer Eddie Cairney immortalises Queensferry Crossing in tune

October 25 2017

An award-winning Tayside song writer who immortalised the 50th anniversary of the Tay Road Bridge in music last year has released an EP which pays tribute to the newly opened Queensferry Crossing over the Forth. Perth-born Eddie Cairney, 65, who now lives in Arbroath, has released an album called ‘Sketches o' the QC’ which includes songs dedicated to the “isolated” workers who were employed during construction and contrasts the old Forth Road Bridge to the new crossing with its wind shields designed to keep traffic flowing during storms. Eddie, who delayed the release of the album due to family illness and bereavement, said: “It's just another quirky album like I did for the Tay Road Bridge. https://youtu.be/Z6BblA_Zev4 “As you can probably imagine, how do you write six songs about a bridge? “I usually end up using a process of creative journalism. I get a few facts or even just a single fact and then I let my imagination take over. “With each album early on in the writing process I draw a blank and think there's nothing here I can write about but there's always something to write about. “You just have to hang around long enough and it comes eventually. https://youtu.be/a9NyQAFjDsY “I just took threads from here and there. I was going to call the album The Queensferry Crossing but thought that was a bit boring so I went for Sketches o' the Q.C. “It introduces a bit of ambiguity. If you Google the name you get lots of drawings of court scenes!” Eddie was inspired to write Columba Cannon after reading an article about the general foreman for the foundations and towers. https://youtu.be/y_y1y8oV7vo Eddie said: “It was the name that got me and that gave me the first line of the song "He is a bridge builder wi a missionary zeal" Has to be with a name like Columba!” Fishnet bridge was set in a meditative light, describing the bridge as a “thing of beauty that looks like a big fish net glistening high above the Forth but it is a symbolic fishnet with the song taking the form of an imaginary conversation with the bridge.” https://youtu.be/dJgsl2WQ5G0   “Midday starvation came from an article which highlighted the isolation of the workers working high up on the bridge,” he added. https://youtu.be/Dme-bfCXHRI “If you forget your piece you've had it and you starve for there's no nipping round to the corner shop for a pie. The article also said that a local pizza delivery firm regularly delivered a pallet load of warm pizzas to the bridge so that was "midday salvation"! Meanwhile, The boys frae the cheese is a play on words. https://youtu.be/phtQ2-Xx1I0 He added: “I read an article that said The Forth Estuary Transport Authority (FETA) could have acted sooner and avoided the costly closure of the bridge at the end of 2015.” Eddie is no stranger to music and song influenced by Dundee and wider Scottish history. In 2015 he featured in The Courier for his efforts to put the complete works of Robert Burns to music. With a piano style influenced by Albert Ammons, Champion Jack Dupree and Memphis Slim, and a song-writing style influenced by Matt McGinn, Michael Marra and Randy Newman, the former Perth High School pupil, who wrote the 1984 New Zealand Olympic anthem, has organised a number of projects over the years including the McGonagall Centenary Festival  for Dundee City Council in 2002. Last year’s Tay Road Bridge album included a tribute to 19th century poet William Topas McGonagall and also honoured Hugh Pincott – the first member of the public to cross the Tay Road Bridge in 1966. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y51tixl9GEs Thanks to The Courier, he also became one of the first to cross the Queensferry Crossing  when it opened to the public in the early hours of August 30.