Dave L Hooker
Dave Hooker grew up in north Kent and felt his first empathy for the natural world when bulldozers destroyed the woodlands where he played, to make way for a new housing estate – the experience of many of us. He grew and married and when a good job opportunity came they upped sticks and did what many of us dream of doing, moved out of the rat-race; in his case, to rural Denbighshire in N. Wales. They managed to fit into a very different society to the one they had left close to London. Soon the young English couple were the proud parents of two daughters who were Welsh by birth, both becoming Welsh speaking. The family roamed the wonderful countryside all the year round; in winter the family would drive out into snow in their Mini as far as they were able, to camp-cook bacon or beef burgers.
Dave filled his life with other things whilst there in Wales; built a boat, invented a few things through engineering connections, but always he returned to the open land and seascapes of Wild Wales around Snowdonia and Ynys Môn, and as the girls grew, went on outings with friends, or shopping trips with their mother, Dave began to walk in the hills alone – sometimes with Pam his wife, usually alone. And it was whilst on one of his loneliest, and he admits afterwards, one of his stupidest, where he climbed into clouds on the rising flanks of Moel Siabod, that he had a profound experience. No one knew where he had gone. He was looking for the wrecks of crashed aircraft in Snowdonia according to local knowledge. He stumbled back out of the low clouds, passed Dolwyddelan Castle, drove through Gwydyr Forest towards home, quite subdued. What was the experience? Dave will not say, but it started his exploration of a new way to look at the natural world and had a profound effect on his writing.