Letter: Old dog's holiday

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The Independent Culture
Old dog's holiday

Sir: Alison Culliford's comments on over-40s who participate in group adventure travel ("Who needs boring forties?", 7 August) display an arrogance at least the equal of what she imagines in us. Where is it written (except within Exodus Travel's ill-conceived new age restrictions) that those just nine or more years older than you should be deemed persona non grata?

I've participated in two treks within the past two years. During the last - a tour of Borneo which took in Mount Kinabalu and the Pinnacles - the most "competitive" member of the party was just 23 years old. He'd cut his teeth as a triathlete. By far the fittest of the group, he made it a point of honour to scramble to the highest and most difficult places on the tour.

It's worth noting also that he undoubtedly had an eye for female members of the group, and that his views on gun ownership made the National Rifle Association look like an Amish picnic. Yet his dubious politics and gung- ho manner never marginalised him. Quite the reverse. His company was as personable as anyone's within a tight-knit and spirited party whose ages ranged from 21 to 48. According to you, however, he's tagged as the type of individual with whom you'd not wish to travel.

I think the experiences you relate of travelling with over-40s are exceptions, not the rule. I am 45 and fit as a butcher's dog. I keep in shape by running, cycling, gym and - yes - trekking. That my age should disbar me from the type of travelling which Alison Culliford so obviously wishes to keep to herself and her contemporaries is small-minded and dictatorial.

RICHARD BUTTERWORTH

London N16

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