Will and Ed with their tall bikes (www.tallbiketourbritain.com). Hannah with her donkey (www.seasidedonkey.co.uk). Rebecca Morris, a thousand miles around the Welsh outline.
Then there's others, walkers, authors, inspirations. Christian around Britain. John Merrill 'Turn right at Land's End', Shally Hunt and her husband 'The sea on our left', Spud Taylor-Ponsonby and her dog Tess 'Two feet, four paws'.
I pushed up the hill, leaning forward to take the weight of my rucksack more fully against my shoulders, placing my feet carefully to dig against the slope and I thought of others who had done the same.
All had trodden in these steps, fought the wind or basked in the sun. All had made the effort, step after step for hour after hour in pursuit of their own, personal challenge, borne from the joy of walking or the unexpected obstacles that living brings. My effort was just the latest of the many who had gone this way before.
I came to the burial mound about thirty minutes later. The mark of those who went before, this time thousands of years ago. I read the sign, detailing the known rites and customs of those long dead people, details scratched together from patient collectors and chemical analysis, marks scored into stones, bubbling brews poured onto embers. Frog, toad, eel, limpet, grass. Incantations muttered, putting the dead to rest in this circle of stones, inside a heap of earth on a headland above the sea, thousands of years ago when the limits of the known world were far smaller than ours. I walked down a short corridor, into the mound to see the covered circle of stones within. As I came near the gateway I started to breathe heavily with a sense of a deep movement of power emanating from the inside of the dark space. It's as if I was caught in the current of a whirlwind of energy but barely attuned to it enough to sense more than the ripples at the edges, like a child playing on the carpet as the adults discuss politics or divorce. I stood at the metal barring the inside of the space and breathed, trying to feel what was coming from in there. Like a bird hopping at the corner of my vision that would disappear if I looked directly at it I could only try and feel, holding my senses out like fingers in the current, trying to feel something trailing through them. Tears fell down my face as I shakily breathed in and out, thinking of the people here, pouring their ritual into the earth, creating their sacred space.
I may know the mechanics of cell division, or why we get rainbows, or where the sun goes when it disappears. I may be able to live without daily foraging for food or talk to my sister in Mexico without seeing her face. But what do they know that I don't? What beliefs do they have that I have long forgotten? I truly cannot imagine.
I came out, unsteadily, back into the crashing unrelenting wind and continued on under the bright sky, wondering whether life really is better these days, with animals in cages, food made of emulsifiers and additives and humans scraping and squeezing the last of the earth's resources into their greedy mouths. Do we live in harmony and die in peace? Did they?
Later on I came to another sacred space, the church in the sea, St Cwyfans, walled up, protected, saved from the hungry water, crashing against the rocks, eating buildings from the foundations up. It stood high on an island of grass, protected by a sea wall, a collection of rocks saved by humans, caring for their sacred spaces.
Strangely that day, unusual in all the days I've been walking, was where I found traces of the walkers who'd gone before. I came to Aberffraw and went to a cafe where Rebecca Morris had told me to stop. She'd walked in there and made friends with the owner, had tea, cakes, dinner and been invited to stay the night. I told the owner who I was, and we sat for a while, talking about her experience of Rebecca, the quiet, unobtrusive woman tanned brown as a nut, who was steadily walking the Welsh coastline. "She sat over there" said Linda the cafe owner, "that's her seat." And so we sat there again in honour of Rebecca, to have our photo taken. One walker sitting in place of another, remembering her journey months earlier.
I said goodbye and walked away, it wasn't until I was almost at the gate that a man called after me. It was Richard, the craftsman from the workshop opposite and a friend of the woman I was due to stay with that night. He invited me into his space and I found myself having a conversation with another cancer sufferer, a coper, in his case, using work and deliberate cheerfulness as his distraction from the fear that cancer can bring. We had a brilliant conversation about all kinds of things, he gave me a book, I met another friend of his, all wonderful. It was almost at the end, as I was preparing to leave that he mentioned he'd met an inspiration of mine. Christian around Britain, the man who walked the entire British coastline as I was in preparation for my own challenge, finishing just a few weeks after I started. Not only did he walk 7000+ miles, he slept rough the entire time, trying to get people to talk about the problems of homelessness in ex-servicemen. Not once did this man crawl into a bed to ease the aches in his bones. He showed me a picture of Christian standing outside his shop - and then we went and took the same photo with me.
There is no end to this story, it's just me walking away again, continuing on my path around the country. I haven't thought much since about those who went before, it just seemed to be that day of realisation of the many people in whose footsteps I tread.