Beinn Dorain in winter extra-mural activities
Bikes
Grane III - Honda Deauville
My first biking memory is as the middle rider of three on my father's Norton Dominator, when I was very small. (You could do that kind of thing in those days.) I've had several bikes of my own over the years, and used to do summer vac jobs as a despatch rider in London years ago. I currently ride a Honda Deauville called Grane III, which is a very sensible and comfortable machine.
Grane II - Triumph Bonneville Before that came Grane II, a beautiful Triumph Bonneville; new in 2000 and based on the 1969 version. It was a lovely, poky machine, but had rather a lot of chrome to look after and zero weather-protection, so I sadly traded it in in 2005.
Professional work
My background is in computing, and I was an IT Manager for many years before starting postgraduate research in 2002. (See my CV.) IT Management involves all the usual network support and business application projects, but my main interest has been in databases, particularly text-rich ones. I've worked in the public, private and academic sectors, and especially in cultural heritage organisations, maintaining large electronic archive collections of various kinds. An interest in improving public access to these collections is what got me into computational linguistics.
I hold an appointment as a Commissioner for RCAHMS and chair their Information Systems Committee. Anyone can apply to serve on a public body, and appointments in Scotland are generally made by the Scottish Executive, under the aegis of OCPAS.
Kate Byrne © 2006-2013  |  Copyright note
Gliding
DG300 thermalling
I suppose it's possible that on my death-bed I'll regret having spent so much time flying gliders... but I doubt it. It's more likely to be the reverse.
I'm the proud part-owner of a DG300 glider, named Dougal, seen here thermalling with me and being flown past by one of my syndicate partners.
Dougal - DG300. Photographer: Andy Bates
It's difficult to convey the satisfaction and excitement involved in flying across the landscape, using only the energy in the air mass, whatever skill and experience you have, and a modicum of meteorological knowledge. Given the right weather, the more skill and experience you have, the further you can go. To know what it's like, you have to try it.
Jeroen, Andy and me plus EUGC K13, at IUTW 2006. Photographer: David Reitter
I fly at the Scottish Gliding Centre, based at Portmoak in Fife. I've also been associated with Edinburgh University Gliding Club, for more years than I care to remember. EUGC won the Inter-University Task Week in 2005 at Sutton Bank and 2006 at Pocklington, and since I'm a student again I was on the team at Pocklington this year.
Hills
Summit of Beinn Dorain in winter
There are 284 Munros in Scotland and I've only climbed about two-thirds of them so far. Of course, I've been up the best ones several times over.
What I need is more holidays...
Beinn a'Chochuill from Beinn Eunaich. Photographer: Derry Byrne