Just before the start of term, we rode off on one of the best experiences Ashbourne has to offer: the duck tour. While something called a "duck tour" might not sound exciting to some, this annual Ashbourne activity has been the highlight of September for three years running.
The duck tour is an event exclusive to new Ashbourne students as a way to create friendships and memories even before the school year starts. Leaving from outside our Old Court Place headquarters, this year we set off on a beautiful, sunny, end-of-summer day to explore the multitude of historical sights around London.
Our group was was split onto two bright yellow, duck-themed buses (Miranda and Beatrice, both finding their namesakes in female Shakespearean characters). The buses themselves proved to be historical, as they are converted from old World War 2 DUKWs into the themed, amphibious vehicles we've all come to love. While the primary function of the tour for Ashbourne students is to mingle and make friends, each bus also provided a tour guide with extensive background knowledge on London's history. This year's tour guides were particularly friendly and fun, making our trip around London all the more enjoyable.
The trip itself, as always, was a wonderful, narrated journey throughout London where we passed famous landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament. In a particularly exciting high point of the tour, we rode down a hill and into the River Thames, seamlessly switching from bus to boat in a matter of seconds.
By the end of the tour, social media accounts and mobile numbers were exchanged, and many students left with promises of friendship and fond memories of Miranda and Beatrice. We raced ducks, answered Shakespearean trivia from our tour guides, and learned about Britain's history.
Only one question will remain in our heads for next year: can we go again in 2017?