Neil Fachie reveals why plans to climb Mount Everest fell through for the happiest of reasons

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Neil Fachie reveals why plans to climb Mount Everest fell through for the happiest of reasons
Neil Fachie reveals why plans to climb Mount Everest fell through for the happiest of reasons

EVEREST will need to wait. Neil Fachie’s bold decision to climb the world’s tallest mountain fell through for the happiest of reasons earlier this year.

The para-cyclist – named this week in the Scotland team for his third Commonwealth Games – and wife Lora, both partially sighted, are expecting their first child together in November.

That has meant a rejigging of their plans to raise money for charity, with the Aberdeen native, five-months pregnant Lora and guide dog Tai all now donning tartan to walk the 15 miles of the Kiltwalk’s Big Stroll this morning on behalf of the AFC Community Trust.

Although based in England now, Fachie remains a fervent Dons supporter, their struggles this season leaving him somewhat anguished as the team came too close for comfort to being relegated. The 38 year-old hopes his Kiltwalk group will fare better today.

“We had planned later this year on trekking to Everest base camp, myself and my wife,” he reveals. “We were going to fly out for that on November 5 but Lora is pregnant and due on November 1 so that’s out the window.

“So Kiltwalk is the substitute for that and Lora is going to do it, too. She’s 18 weeks pregnant so if I can’t cope I’ve got no excuse compared to her!

“It’s for the AFC Trust so hopefully we put in a better performance than the team’s done this year! It’s been absolutely dire this season.

“I used to be a season ticket holder when I lived in Aberdeen when the team had some pretty dark years in the early 2000s with serious defeats from the Old Firm and the rest.

“And this season has been just as bad. I’m just glad we didn’t get relegated. I’m not sure how but it’s a big relief as it was looking that way for a while.

“I really hope it’s going to be better next season but at this stage I’m far from optimistic. But the community trust we’re walking for are really good.

“They’re really on it helping the local community, kids in schools, the elderly and other good causes. If we can raise some cash for them that will be really nice.

“I think we’re wearing an AFC Community Trust top. I don’t know what that looks like but I’m assuming it will be Dons red. We’ll have our kilts on too, including one for the dog! She doesn’t like wearing stuff usually so it might just be that we stick it on for the photo and take it off again if it looks like she won’t walk in it.”

Fachie’s Commonwealth Games record is perfect with four golds from four events split over Glasgow in 2014 and Gold Coast in 2018. Preparations for Birmingham have been disrupted with the Manchester velodrome closed for repairs but he is confident of delivering more medals alongside pilot Lewis Stewart for Team Scotland off the back of also claiming gold at the Tokyo Olympics last year.

“I’ve had a pretty good time at the Commy Games so far, I can’t lie. A bit of pressure comes with that having a 100 percent record to date.

“There’s something special about this one as we don’t get to race for Scotland very often. It’s fun when you’re up against your GB team-mates and they’re with a different country for once. It makes it a bit more spicy. It will be tasty and a close race with the Welsh bike and I think the Aussies could be pretty handy as well. So it will be a good one and in front of a full house again which is mega.”

Lora’s pregnancy means the Scotland vs England household rivalry around the Games ought to be less tense, with Fachie excitedly awaiting the arrival of the newest addition to the family.

“Yeah I can’t wait, we’re delighted. Lora had been hoping to race Commy Games for England so that’s out now. She’s a bit gutted and it would have been fun for us to go head to head, Scotland vs England. But we’re so happy with how things have turned out. It’s something we had thought about for a long time.

“It’s really difficult for female athletes to plan when it's the best time to have children. There’s never a perfect time so this is as good as any and we’ll see what happens.

“Lora is hoping to come back to compete afterwards and we’d both like to be in Paris for the Paralympics in 2024. We’ve got a great support network around us and if the baby has to come into the odd training session with us then so be it.”

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