Another day in the sun

Last Updated: 01 Jun 2017
The Deputy Head of GCHQ Bude reflects on the opportunities available.


The orchids are about 5" tall, pink-purple, with many small flowers on one stem.
Orchids on the aerial field at GCHQ Bude. ©CBPhoto 2016
I grew up in the South West, but moved to Cheltenham when I joined GCHQ, so I was delighted when the opportunity arose to work from our Bude station in Cornwall.

Many have described Bude as 'GCHQ's most scenic location', and I'd have to agree! I feel very lucky, being able to live in such a great place and do a job where I can contribute to keeping the country safe.  

Bude has been called one of the sunniest places in the country and, with all that sunshine, the amazing set of beaches and wonderful countryside, I feel very privileged to work and live here. Traditionally a North Cornwall holiday location, Bude town offers a safe and family-friendly atmosphere, with a great set of bars, restaurants and outdoor pursuits for those seeking more of a thrill. 

I've worked for GCHQ for over 12 years, and have done a number of different roles in that time. I started as a graduate software engineer, and now am the Deputy Head at Bude. Over that time, I've had some of the greatest opportunities, from working on unique technologies and engineering challenges, supporting directly our Counter Terrorism campaigns, developing our relationships with partners, to mentoring and developing others. 

Having worked at many of GCHQ's locations, including Cheltenham, London and now Bude, I feel each provides a different experience. What I really love about Bude is our exciting blend of operational focus and ethos of working in new ways. Bude is far from a 'quiet backwater', it's a centre of highly skilled and passionate individuals that care deeply about signals intelligence and maximising the opportunities it gives us in order to keep the country and her interests safe. 

A typical day-in-the-life for me:

  • I'm an early starter, so like to be in work around 7am. Our flexible working allows me to maximise the time I have free in the evenings. You've not lived until you've sat on Summerleaze beach, with some local fish and chips, watching the sun go down over the sea.
  • I'm responsible for our operational delivery, so a lot of my day is spent making sure we're progressing our plans for the year; this involves a mixture of talking with teams, meetings and liaising with stakeholders.
  • No day is ever the same, and when things don't go according to plan I'll get involved in incident management; ultimately ensuring that our customers across the GCHQ estates get the valuable signals intelligence from Bude.
  • I have some personal projects too. These vary from using my business change skills to help shape GCHQ's future, through to being a Diversity and Inclusion Champion.

When my time in Bude comes to an end, I'm going to be sad to leave.

"Duncan", Deputy Head of GCHQ Bude.


The sky shines oranges and pinks, silhouetting the satellite dishes
Sunset behind Bude's aerials. ©GCHQ/GN