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This Woman Is on a Quest to Have a Drink in Every ‘Red Lion’ Pub in the UK

Cathy Price, from Preston, Lancashire, has paid a visit to 500 different pubs named ‘Red Lion’ in Britain. In fact, she’s made it her life’s mission to visit every single Red Lion in the UK, which just happens to be the most common pub name in the country. She celebrated her 500th visit last weekend in Bedfordshire, where she visited a Red Lion at Dagnall, near Whipsnade Zoo.

55-year-old Cathy has been touring the nation since 2011, visiting local Red Lions in Milton Bryan, Studham, Upper Sundon, Leighton Buzzard, Great Brickhill and Houghton Regis. She said that she got the idea for the project on a whim: “I was away in the Lake District for the weekend a few years ago and I was watching the Grand National at a pub and I read a sign which said the Red Lion was the most common pub name in the country.”

“I thought they must be absolutely everywhere and that was when I decided I had to see them all,” she explained. “I began on Grand National day, April 9, 2011, and aim to complete the quest as near to Grand National day as I can next year, which will have taken four years.”

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“This weekend in Bedfordshire I hit the great number of 500 Red Lions visited,” she said, proudly. “In fact, I ended on 502 doing nine Red Lions and sadly one ‘Dead Lion’ at Toddington. I now only have around 120 more to visit so the countdown has begun.”

“As more people knew about what I was doing I was given a list, correct as of 2010, of all the places where there was a Red Lion pub but unfortunately an awful lot of them have closed down since then.”

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Cathy, who works as a personal trainer, said that she doesn’t mind dropping in at several pubs a day. Her personal best is 11 in one day, during a trip to Oxfordshire, and over a bank holiday in August she went to 16 Red Lions in four days. “I’ve been quite flexible about it, sometimes I go somewhere on a Saturday, maybe somewhere about an hour or so away from where I live, or other times I go away for the weekend and go to several in a day.”

“I’ve found that there are quite a large number of them around Beds and Herts so I’ve been picking them off on my way down to places like Kent,” she added.

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Cathy said that she normally buys a drink first, and then tells the staff at the pub about what she’s doing and what number they are. That helps her strike up a conversation. “So many of the pubs I’ve been to have given me such a warm welcome,” she said. “Some have been a bit dodgy and others have been absolutely fantastic. Some have had thatched roofs while some are in the middle of town centers, proper drinkers’ pubs.”

Having visited so many Red Lions it is surprising that Cathy still doesn’t have a favorite drink that she goes for at every pub. In fact, she sometimes doesn’t order an alcoholic drink at all, opting for a coffee or a cola instead. “Unfortunately more often than not I am driving so I might have a small glass of sparkling wine or sometimes just half an ale!”

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Cathy has described her mission as ‘the longest pub crawl of pubs with the same name’, and said that she can never be beaten, because the pubs continue to close down. “The journey is more about Britain, the history of the pubs and the fantastic villages, towns and cities the quest has taken me to,” she explained. “I have met a marvellous array of characters along the way and made many friends.”

Meanwhile, the Red Lion at Hawkshead, where it all began, is planning to throw a big party when Cathy is finished with her pub crawl so that she will have come full circle.

Sources: Bedfordshire News, Lep

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