EVEREST will have to wait. Neil Fachie’s bold decision to climb the tallest mountain in the world failed for the happiest of reasons earlier this year.
The para-cyclist – named to Team Scotland for his third Commonwealth Games this week – and his wife Lora, both visually impaired, are expecting their first child together in November.
It has meant a reshuffling of their charity fundraising plans, with Lora, originally from Aberdeen, five months pregnant, and guide dog Tai now donning tartan to walk the 15 miles of the Great Kiltwalk this morning on behalf of the AFC Confiance community.
Although based in England now, Fachie remains a strong supporter of the Dons, with their struggles this season leaving him feeling somewhat distressed as the side were too close to be relegated. The 38-year-old hopes his Kiltwalk group will fare better today.
“We had planned later this year to trek to Everest Base Camp, me and my wife,” he reveals. “We were supposed to leave for this on November 5, but Lora is pregnant and due on November 1, so it’s out the window.
“So Kiltwalk is the substitute for that and Lora is going to do that too. She’s 18 weeks pregnant, so if I can’t cope, I have no excuse for her!
“It’s for the AFC Trust, so hopefully we’ve performed better than the team this year! It’s been absolutely disastrous 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 some serious defeats from Old Firm and others.
“And this season has been just as bad. I’m just glad we weren’t relegated. I don’t know how, but it’s a big relief because he looked that way for a while.
“I really hope it will be better next season but at this stage I am far from optimistic. But the community trust that we walk for is really good.
“They are really there to help the local community, children in schools, the elderly and other good causes. If we can raise money for them, that will be really nice.
“I think we wear an AFC Community Trust top. I don’t know what it looks like, but I guess it will be Dons Red. We will also have our kilts, including one for the dog! She doesn’t like to wear usual clothes, so we may put it on for the picture 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 in four events split across Glasgow in 2014 and Gold Coast in 2018. Preparations for Birmingham were cut short with the Manchester Velodrome closed for repairs, but he is confident of winning more medals alongside driver Lewis Stewart for the team. Scotland also won gold at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
“I’ve had a great time at the Commy Games so far, I can’t lie. A bit of pressure comes with having a 100% record so far.
“There’s something special about this one because we don’t race for Scotland very often. It’s fun to play against your UK teammates and they’re with a different country for once. This makes it a bit spicier. It will be tasty and a tight race with the Welsh bike and I think the Australians could be very useful as well. So it will be a good match and in front of a full house again, which is mega.
Lora’s pregnancy means the family rivalry between Scotland and England around the Games should be less strained, with Fachie eagerly awaiting the arrival of the newest addition to the family.
“Yeah, I can’t wait, we’re delighted. Lora was hoping to run the Common Games for England, so now is the time. She is a little disgusted and it would have been fun for us to play Scotland against England. But we are so happy with the way things have turned out. It’s something we’ve been thinking about for a long time.
“It’s really hard for female athletes to plan when it’s the best time to have children. There’s never a perfect moment, so it’s as good as any moment and we’ll see what happens.
“Lora is hoping to come back to compete afterwards and we would both love to be in Paris for the Paralympic Games in 2024. We have a great support network around us and if the baby needs to be in a training session with us then so be it.