Well I did it, not sure how, but I deleted my Time Machine back-ups on an external hard-drive. The trial versions of Stellar or Guru recovery software
let me see that the data is still there so recoverable. Got a quote from a local guy. Three hundred just to recover it, no further.

Does anyone have experience with this type of software and/or should I not try to do this myself?

Also, just heard of TestDisk. Free and by donation. Looks good but I can't even get it to open up for some reason.

Just a wrecking ball