Lancashire

Lancashire woman visits Britain's 656 Red Lion pubs

Red Lion Hockwold Image copyright Cathy Price
Image caption Cathy Price outside the Red Lion pub in Hockwold, Norfolk

A woman has completed one of Britain's longest "pub crawls" visiting all 656 pubs called The Red Lion.

Personal trainer Cathy Price, 56, from Preston, spent four years travelling the length and breadth of the country as part of her quest.

She travelled 90,000 miles in her car from the Scottish Highlands to the beaches of Cornwall.

On Saturday, she completed her challenge at The Red Lion in Northmoor, Oxfordshire.

Ms Price told the BBC she came up with the idea while enjoying a drink at the Red Lion in Hawkshead, Cumbria, in April 2011 while watching the Grand National.

"I saw a plaque saying it is the most common pub name," she said. "I immediately imagined what it would be like to visit them all."

She said her friend initially "thought she was mad", but warmed to the idea when he realised she was serious.

Image copyright Cathy Price
Image caption Cathy Price completes her challenge at the Red Lion in Northmoor, Oxfordshire

Touring in a camper van

Within two days, she established that a large number of pubs bearing the name were within a 20-minute drive from Preston. The challenge officially began on 9 April 2011.

Ms Price said she discovered a lot about England and the pub trade and met some characters in the pubs. Rarely, she added, was she met with "indifference."

At every pub, she had a half a pint of ale, a cup of coffee or a soft drink.

Sadly, she also witnessed the sad decline of pubs which she puts down to cheap drink being sold at supermarkets and the smoking ban, as well as developers buying dwindling pub buildings and profiting from housing.

In the years since her challenge began, 90 Red Lions have closed.

In July, she toured Devon and Cornwall Red Lions in a camper van and made the most of the "glorious" weather.

"The costs have mounted with fuel, food and staying over, but it has been worth every penny," she said.

And her favourite Red Lion of all? The one in Snargate, Kent.

Image copyright Cathy Price
Image caption Cathy Price outside the Red Lion in Little Missenden in Buckinghamshire
Image copyright Cathy Prce
Image caption The Red Lion pub at Chenies, south Buckinghamshire
Image copyright Cathy Price
Image caption The Red Lion in Great Brickhill, Buckinghamshire
Image copyright Cathy Price
Image caption The Red Lion in Barnes, south west London
Image copyright Cathy Price
Image caption The Red Lion in Pendoylan in the Vale of Glamorgan
Image copyright Cathy Price
Image caption Cathy Price at the Red Lion pub in Cheddleton, Staffordshire

More on this story