Chapter 28: The 'Pool Photo' refuses to go away

 The 'Pool Photo' refuses to go away

The Pool Photo is of crucial importance. Of that there can be little doubt.

To put the matter simply –

IF it was taken on Thursday 3rd May 2007 - it is capable of showing that Madeleine was alive and well at lunchtime that day

IF it was not, - then the implications go far beyond a simple misunderstanding.
The fact that it was presented by Mitchell on behalf of the McCanns as having been taken at a particular time on a particular date, and the fact that Kate unequivocally repeated this in her autobiography has great bearing on almost every aspect of the case. It goes directly to the veracity of the McCanns and the involvement of Mitchell – amongst many others.

In previous essays the issue of the weather was set out, and some contemporary photos and weather reports were appended in support of the thesis.

This failed to impress some, who argue that the photos themselves are not sufficient to prove the negative, namely that the photo could not have been taken at lunchtime on 3/5/7. Proving a negative is notoriously difficult, but not impossible. The legal process deals with this by insisting on an overwhelming weight of evidence.

What follows therefore is another more detailed examination of the weather conditions, with yet more evidence introduced in the form of weather reports from several stations, many more contemporary photos, and a recapitulation of the pertinent parts of statements and comments.

No apology is given for the length of this essay, nor for the volume of the evidence included.

For ease of understanding, and for reasons of clarity I am pasting edited pieces about the formation of clouds taken from various places on the internet. All can be searched through “google”.

Many of the photos may be accessed on Flickr, using the search engine on that site.

Some were accessed from ‘google images’, others are screen shots from the videos of the World Windsurfing competition in Portimão held between 29/4/7 and 3/5/7, and four are from the author’s personal collection.

I have included only a few in the main text, in thumbnail format, to illustrate the various points. The rest are included in an appendix after the reference section.

The weather reports are all available on the internet, and the exact references are given to allow anyone who has a genuine interest to do their own research. A small fee was payable for one set.

After I have set out the main thesis I shall try to raise and answer the objections I am already aware of, or can think of, but as always if strong contrary evidence can be adduced, I am prepared to be shown to be in error.

I shall first discuss Clouds, then Weather reports in general terms, then I shall look at specific reports before looking in detail at the photos and analysing what they can tell us.

After this I shall look again at what people said in their statements, and at pertinent extracts from Kate McCann’s autobiography, before discussing a personal diary kept by a resident of PdL.

 What causes clouds?

A cloud is defined as ‘a visible aggregate of minute droplets of water or particles of ice or a mixture of both floating in the free air’. Each droplet has a diameter of about a hundredth of a millimetre and each cubic metre of air will contain 100 million droplets.
Clouds form when the invisible water vapour in the air condenses into visible water droplets or ice crystals. For this to happen, the parcel of air must be saturated, i.e. unable to hold all the water it contains in vapour form, so it starts to condense into a liquid or solid form. There are two ways by which saturation is reached.
(a) By increasing the water content in the air, e.g. through evaporation, to a point where the air can hold no more. The steam from a boiling kettle is a simple example. As it rises it reaches air which is not saturated, and so disappears from human view
(b) By cooling the air so that it reaches its dew point – this is the temperature at which condensation occurs, and is unable to ‘hold’ any more water. There is a maximum amount of water vapour the air, at a given temperature, can hold. In general, the warmer the air, the more water vapour it can hold. Therefore, reducing its temperature decreases its ability to hold water vapour.
Method (b) is the usual way that clouds are produced, and it is associated with air rising in the lower part of the atmosphere. As the air rises it expands due to the reduction in atmospheric pressure, and the expansion causes the air to cool. Generally speaking, for each 100 metres the air rises, it will cool by 1 °C. The rate of cooling will vary depending on the water content, or humidity, of the air.
Therefore, the vertical ascent of air will reduce its ability to hold water vapour, so that condensation occurs.
Put simply, clouds are simply air containing moisture, which condenses so it can be seen. 

This can also be seen in mountainous areas where clouds form over the highest peaks and ridges, and although the clouds appear to ‘move’ they warm up as they lose altitude and the moisture is lost to human view. The English expression “burning off” is sometimes used to describe this phenomenon.

These photos are taken of the Sierra de Grazalema near Ronda in southern Spain. The high peak shown is 1654 m. (5,400 ft.) the village lying at 800 m. (2650 ft.)
The photos are taken towards the west, and the prevailing wind is a westerly i.e. from the west. It has picked up moisture as it crosses the Atlantic, and this ridge is the first high one it crosses. Grazalema has the reputation of being one of the wettest places in Spain
The “burning off” effect may be seen here as the cloud passed through the pass “Puerto de las Palomas”. (In this photo the wind is travelling from left to right)

These and more photos may be found at Appendix A - CLOUDS

Weather reports

Most weather reports are recorded automatically by Meteorological stations, situated at intervals around a country.

These weather stations measure a large variety of different meteorological parameters, including air temperature, atmospheric pressure, rainfall, wind speed and direction, humidity, cloud height, visibility, and sunshine.

This map shows the distribution of the weather stations in Portugal of which current data and forecasts with pinpoint precision are available. In general, the weather stations measure air temperature and humidity (2 meters above ground), wind speed and wind direction (10 meters above ground), as well as sunshine duration, amount of precipitation and air pressure

The nearest ones to Praia da Luz are at Faro airport to the east of Praia da Luz, and at Sagres at the far western point of the Algarve. Their position relative to PdL may be seen here 

The distance Sagres – PdL is 22 km.

The distance Faro – PdL is 66 km.

The distance from Sagres to Faro is 86 km.

A similar pattern is observed in the UK.

The distance Camborne – Yeovilton = 150 km

The distance Hurn – Eastbourne = 100 km

When was the Pool Photo taken ?

In what follows I shall concentrate on two dates.
The first is Thursday 3rd May 2007
The date on which Mitchell said on the McCann’s behalf the Pool Photo had been taken.
The date which Kate herself repeats in her book ‘madeleine’ that the photo was taken.
The date which is embedded in the EXIF Metadata on the photo as released to the world’s press on 24th May 2007

The second is Sunday 29th April 2007.
I shall explain why.

The family arrived in PdL on Saturday 28th April, and it was not until mid to late afternoon, after checking in and being taken to their apartment, then re-arranging furniture and unpacking, that they were able to visit their part of the resort to explore.
It is fairly clear that the three photos of the children in the play area on the lawn and with the playhouse were taken then.
p. 69 ‘madeleine’ - The weather was pleasant enough, although there was a cool breeze.

In fact there were large ‘fluffy’ cumulus clouds, which are seen on the photos of the children.

On Sunday 29th April the weather was, on any test, beautiful. There was no cloud, the sun shone for 13 hours at Faro – the Meteorological Station just along the coast, and photos from third parties posted on Flickr are clear evidence of this

On Monday 30th April the weather ‘closed in’ and it was dull and cold for the next few days. It rained on Wednesday 2nd May, as the group record.
I do not therefore concentrate on the days 30th April to 2nd May, though for the sake of completeness several dated photos may be found in Appendix D

But on one of the days between Saturday 28th April and Friday 4th May, the Pool Photo was taken.
The question is obvious.
What day ? What date?


Weather stations record meteorological date in coded form. It is standardised through the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) which allows it to be understood throughout most of the world.

An example looks like this

Two layers of cloud are then described

There is another common entry, which is important for this discussion
CAVOK Definition : Provided the visibility is >= 10 km, AND the height of the lowest cloud (any amount) is >=5000 ft (or highest minimum sector altitude) AND there are no cumulonimbus clouds (CB, any height) within sight, AND there is no significant weather (see list below), then the visibility and cloud part of the standard METAR is replaced by CAVOK (say "cav-oh-kay": 'Ceiling And Visibility OK').

Here we shall confine ourselves to looking at the period 1230 to 1530 on each day

Q:     What does the METAR data tell us?

A:     At lunchtime on Sunday 29th April the sky was clear - CAVOK 
         At lunchtime on Thursday 3rd May the sky was overcast - with 2 levels of cloud

The tutorial on the interpretation of METAR data may be found by activating the reference, and at Appendix B

The full set of METAR data from which the above have been extracted may be found by activating the references given, and at Appendix C1 and C2


Some weather stations record the total sunshine on a daily basis
Both Sagres and Faro do so.

The charts and details may be found in Appendix C and by consulting the references given

They show that
In Faro, on 28th and 29th April 12.6 hours of sun were recorded
On 30th April, 1st May and 2nd May NO sunshine was recorded
On Thursday 3rd May only 0.9 hours (54 minutes) of sun were recorded over the entire day

In Sagres, on 28th and 29th April 12.6 hours of sun were recorded
On 30th April, 1st May and 2nd May diminishing amounts of sunshine were recorded
On Thursday 3rd May only 8 hours of sun were recorded over the entire day

Q: What does the Sunshine data tell us?

A: It confirms what we already know from the raw METAR data

For most of Sunday 29th April the sky was clear - CAVOK

For most of Thursday 3rd May the sky was overcast

Observation: The sunshine recorded in Sagres is exactly as expected. The weather station is on the furthest west point of the Algarve, and the wind during that period was a fairly consistent WSW. As we have already discussed, cloud does not usually form until the air begins to rise over the land, and so we would predict that Sagres would have clear skies. The next section examining the photos will make this more clear


The website Flickr invites people to upload photos, and large numbers of people do so. Most if not all have the date and the type of camera and other details attached
The site has a good internal search engine, and is thus a useful if unintended resource where weather conditions are an issue.

There is the obvious caveat – that people do not take many photos on dull days, and secondly that even on a cloudy day where the sun appears only occasionally, unless the event itself is the focus of attention, they may wait until such a moment.

On a dull or overcast day however, there is no such choice.

A few photos in thumbnail size will suffice. The originals and many more are to be found in Appendix D, and the relevant url is shown in the reference section

Sunday 29th April

Thursday 3rd May

Between 29th April and 5th May 2007 the World Windsurfing Championship was held in Portimão, Algarve, some 17 km from PdL.

The website has a wealth of photos and video of the whole event, and brief references to wind speed and sea state with wave height in the daily Press release.

It is also instructive since the archive shows photos taken not only from the land out to sea, but also from the official launches back towards the coast

These photos were taken on the same day at the World Windsurfing event.

Photos taken from the sea show thick cloud over the land.
Those taken from the land show clear sky over the sea.
The wind was blowing at an angle from the sea towards the land, (WSW)
So we can observe how the saturated air is forced to rise and how the clouds form over the land.

This is incidentally how mariners across the ages knew they were approaching land

But even if we have a photo taken outdoors which does not show the sky, we may deduce what the weather must have been. To make this more clear, consider these.
Here a photo taken on land is seen, showing a lack of sharp shadows, from which we may reasonably deduce significant cloud cover, even though we cannot directly see it

From this photo however we can reasonably deduce clear sky, again without being able directly to see it

The first photo is dated 3/5/7. The second 29/4/7

Knowing how clouds form and disperse as the air reaches the coast, we can therefore look back at the three photos at the start of this section, and deduce that in the third, although there appears to be only 6/8 cloud cover, this is out at sea, and therefore over the land must have been considerably more. The cloud is, to use the common English expression ”breaking up”.
This solves another of the apparent objections raised by this issue.

The METAR data at Faro reports one layer of cloud at 1/8 – 2/8 cover, and a higher one at 3/8 – 4/8 cover. Faro airport is close to the coast, only 2,200m to the control tower.

The cloud cover report is of the entire visible sky, in this case horizon in the south to the mountains in the north.

Full cloud cover over the land and clear sky over the sea gives 4/8 cover even if the lower 2/8 layer is ignored.

In Appendix 3 many more photos from the windsurfing event may be viewed, including not only those taken towards the sea, those taken from the sea towards the land, but some taken on the land.
Q: What do the Photos tell us?

A: They confirm what we already know from the METAR and the Sunshine data

For most of Sunday 29th April the sky over land and sea was clear - CAVOK

For most of Thursday 3rd May the sky over the land was overcast


Let us look at what witnesses said about the weather.

Firstly the Tapas 7

These are clipped from the full statements.
References for the full statements may be found in App F
* * * * *
Kate McCann has told the world that the Last Photo was taken at 14:29 on Thursday 3rd May 2007. At that time there was heavy cloud, overcast and an ambient temperature of only 17ºC or 18º C (62.5ºF - 64.5ºF)

By 9pm that evening the temperature had dropped one or two degrees, to 16ºC, a temperature which prompted Jane Tanner to complain about the cold and to make quite an issue of collecting one of her partner’s thick fleeces during her visit to their apartment.

Kate McCann describes the day of their arrival, Saturday 28th April, thus
p. 69 “The weather was pleasant enough, although there was a cool breeze.”

There is no mention of the weather on Sunday 29th April.

She goes on to say of Tuesday 1st May
p. 84 “The weather wasn’t great: in fact, on the beach it started to rain.

Strangely, Kate McCann also describes the weather at the time and date she states she took the Pool Photo
p. 94 “The weather was a little on the cool side and I remember thinking I should have brought a cardigan for her,

Referring to the evening of Thursday 3rd May Kate McCann is very clear that outside, the weather was cold.
p. 104 “It was so cold . . .”

The remaining quotes refer to the evening of Thursday 3rd May

Jane Tanner is insistent in her rogatory interview
JT: . . . and I just thought that child's not got any shoes on because you could see the feet, and it was quite a cold night in Portugal in May it's not actually that warm, and I'd got a big jumper on, and I can remember thinking oh that parent is not a particularly good parent, they've not wrapped them up.
- - -
and yet again

4078 “So you went on the wrong day.”
Reply “Yeah, I think err so it wasn’t, that’s one reason why we didn’t open the shutters to open the window or anything in that room, it wasn’t actually really hot at all, it was actually quite cloudy in the days and at night it was actually quite chilly.”

The remaining Tapas group are also clear that 15ºC is cold.
Russell O’Brien :     The nights were quite chilly
Matthew Oldfield :    in the evenings it was very cold,
Rachel Oldfield :      it was really cold in the evenings
David Payne :          it was quite cold some nights and you know perhaps nearly too cold to be sat outside
Fiona Payne :          it was still very cold
Diane Webster :      when they were brought up to our apartment and they would have to
                                    come out into the cold
Here they are describing their experience of a temperature of 15ºC or 14ºC
This is only one or two degrees less than that recorded at lunchtime on 3rd May
Q: What do these accounts and statements tell us?

A: They confirm what we already know from the METAR and the Sunshine data

From 30th April to 3rd May a weather front passed over Portugal, bringing cold and cloudy conditions, only moving away late on Thursday 3rd May 

* * * *
Weather conditions may not only be seen in or deduced from photographs and METAR data. Many people for personal or professional reasons keep diaries in which they record weather, and many have recollections, particularly if asked soon after the event, or if given access to photos they have taken

A local PdL resident and retired RAF Navigator, who continued into his retirement his practice of observing weather and recording it in his diary said

[NOTE: This has been heavily edited to concentrate on the weather related items]

Saturday, April 28 2007. Clear skies with warm temperatures for time of year enabled a full entry in the golf competition at the nearby Boavista Resort. From 1 ’til 4pm, warm dry conditions. Clear skies at night resulted in cooler conditions by dawn the following day.

Sunday, April 29 2007. Another fine day (warm once the Sun got up) but some evidence of weather on the change by evening. No threat of frost for the following day due to cloud cover that night.

Monday, April 30 2007. Cloudy day, but dry and average temperatures.

Tuesday, May 1 2007. Cooler cloudier weather,

Wednesday, May 2 2007. Cool, cloudy with sunny spells and moderate winds

Thursday, 3 May 2007 Weather continues cool and cloudy with sunny intervals, but not pool dipping weather. Noticed first evidence of weather change, as by 7.15 pm cloud was clearing from the North. Just after 11pm night sky clear with full moon. I arrived at my apartment about 11:45pm. It was a clear dry moonlit, and it was good to reflect that better weather had now set in.

Friday 4 May, 2007 I was awakened at c.0750 on a fine clear morning,

Saturday 5 May, 2007. Weather continues fine and sunny.

He was then asked to view a series of photos taken from Flickr - shown in Appendix D

He replied
All show the same pattern, of the clear skies on 28 and 29, then turning to heavy overcast and beginning to open up on 3/5/7 in the evening.

Q: What does this account tell us?

A: It confirms what we already know from the METAR and the Sunshine data, and from the photos, and from the first hand witness statements

For most of Sunday 29th April the sky over land and sea was clear - CAVOK

During the week a weather front moved across Portugal bringing cold, cloudy, and rainy weather

For most of Thursday 3rd May the sky was overcast and the day was cold

From late evening of Thursday 3rd and on Friday 4th May the weather improved


Q: What does all this tell us?

A: Does all this tell us that Thursday 3rd May 2007 was largely overcast, cold and windy, but Sunday 29th April 2007 was clear, and warm. Does it tell us that on the first full day of the holiday the McCann family acted normally, as would any other family of five, the children dressed in their new holiday clothes, wearing their new sun hats, exploring, having their photo taken, dipping their feet into the pool, and generally enjoying the sensation of being on a family holiday ?

It may do.
But there are two important objections to all of this

1 Gerry McCann is on record as saying the evening of 3rd May was HOT
Concerning the bed where his daughter was on the night she disappeared, he says that she slept uncovered, as usual when it was hot, with the bedclothes folded down'. Police statement 10 May

2 Mitchell, acting for the McCanns, and subsequently Kate McCann in her autobiography, have united in saying that the photo was taken on Thursday 3rd May

Those 3 people clearly reject the Meteorological Office records, ignore the many photos on Flickr, dismiss the evidence of official photos of the World Windsurfing Championships, reject the statements, turn a blind eye to the diaries, and insist that the photo was taken at lunchtime on Thursday 3rd May 2007

Is it even remotely possible that it could have been ?


These relate to Thursday 3/5/7 unless otherwise stated.

Q: The charts show there was 4/8 cloud cover. Only half the sky is covered, so the sun would have shone through the other half.

A1: Clouds are not static. They move more or less quickly across the sky. Everyone knows how the sun ‘comes out’ and then ‘goes back in’ to use the standard English expressions. The Pool Photo shows bright sun, but also, crucially, shows Gerry with a sheen of perspiration on his forehead, and everyone wearing light clothing.
If the Pool Photo had been taken during a brief appearance of the sun through a gap in the clouds, we might have to explain why everyone was suitable dressed for that exact moment, and not for a generally overcast and cool day. Even Kate says so -
p. 95 “The weather was a little on the cool side

At Faro airport only 54 minutes of sunshine were recorded for the entire day

A2: There were two levels of cloud. The higher altitude one was in the range 3-4/8 cover, the lower one in the range 1-2/8. These move at different speeds, and in slightly different directions depending on the wind direction at each altitude. Thus some of the time there would have been 6/8 cloud cover. Only when the two levels coincided would there have been only 4/8 cover. It is submitted that although this might have been enough to allow the pool photo to have been taken in one of the short intervals, it would not have caused, or allowed Gerry and the children to dress in light clothing, don sunglasses, sun hats, nor to persuade Gerry to wear sunglasses and develop a sheen of sweat on his forehead.
The highest temperature recorded on 3/5/7 was 19º C (66º F) some 2 hours after solar zenith. At 1429 it was 18º C (64º F), with a Force 3-4 wind off the sea.

A3: The figure of 4/8 cover is recorded by the Meteorological station at Faro. Faro is close to the coast. As we have seen, cloud forms as air comes in from the sea, and rises over the land. The land can then have total cloud cover and the sea be entirely cloud free. The report will then show 4/8 cloud cover. This is clearly illustrated in the windsurfing photos.
The weather report from Faro records only 0.9 hours of sunshine on 3/5/7


Was this photo

taken on this day ?

 or on this day ?

As they say in school exams . . .”show your reasoning






From the Hard Back edition
madeleine” Kate McCann, 2011, Bantam Press. Random House
Version 1.0 Epub ISBN 9781446437605
ISBNs 9780593067918 (hb)
9780593067925 (tpb)



B METAR Tutorial

C METAR report Faro
METAR report Sagres



E WINDSURFING photos Portimão



Personal collection, ‘google images’


Meteorological Terminal Air Report (METAR)

Meteorological Terminal Air Report (METAR) - Aerodrome routine meteorological reports

The elements of these messages are normally given in the order below. Some elements or groups
may be omitted when they are not needed or do not apply:
Code Name The indicator group e.g. METAR, SPECI, or TREND as appropriate. Where a number of METARs are issued in the same bulletin, this, along with a date time group may be in the bulletin header.
Location The ICAO indicator of the reporting station eg. EGLL
Date/Time of Report The day of the month and the time of the observation in hours and minutes
UTC e.g. 191350Z.
AUTO The optional code word AUTO indicates that the report has been prepared by an automated observing system
Surface Wind
The mean wind direction in degrees true to the nearest 10 degrees, from which the wind is blowing and the mean wind speed in knots over the 10 minute period immediately preceding the observation
e.g. 35015KT = 350 degrees true/15 kts; VRB05KT = variable/5 kts; 00000 = CALM. If gusts exceed the mean wind speed by 10kts or more in the 10 minutes preceding the time of the report, a letter G and 2 more figures are added to indicate the maximum wind speed e.g. 23018G30KT = 230 degrees true/18 kts gusting to a maximum of 30 kts. Reports may express wind speed in metres per second
('MPS) or Kilometres per hour (KPH). Winds greater than 100 kts or more shall be preceded by the letter P and reported as P99KT or P99MPS or P199KPH.
Visibility Reported in a four figure group (e.g. 0400 = 400 metres; 8000 = 8 km) up to but excluding 10 km; 9999 = 10km or more; 0000 = less than 50 metres visibility.
Runway Visual Range (RVR):
Aerodromes may include a letter indicator R followed by the runway designator, a"/" and the touchdown zone RVR in metres, e.g. R06/0400. If the RVR is assessed on 2 or more runways simultaneously then the RVR group will be repeated.
Parallel runways will have L, C, or R added to the runway designator e.g. R24L/1100.
If the RVR is greater than the maximum value that can be measured, P will precede this value e.g. R24L/P1500.
If the RVR is less than the minimum value that can be measured , M will precede this value e.g. R24L/M0050.
If RVR trends can be measured then U, D, or N will follow the RVR value to indicate increasing, decreasing or no change respectively.
Weather Weather is indicated by up to 3 groups comprising symbols and letters from the following: - = slight + = Heavy BC = Patches BL = Blowing
BR = Mist DR = Low Drifting DS = Dust Storm DU = Widespread Dust
DZ = Drizzle FG = Fog FC = Funnel Cloud (e.g. Tornado) FU = Smoke FZ = Freezing GR = Hail GS = Small Hail HZ = Haze
IC = Diamond Dust MI = Shallow PL = Ice Pellets PO = Dust Devils
RA = Rain SA = Sand SG = Snow Grains SH = Shower
SN = Snow SQ = Squall SS = Sandstorm TS = Thunderstorm
VA = Volcanic Ash VC = In the vicinity (nearby) UP = Unidentified Precipitation RE = Recent
e.g - FZDZ = Slight Freezing Drizzle + SHRASN = Heavy Shower of Rain and Snow; REUP = Recent Unidentified Precipitation

Cloud: Cloud amount is reported as FEW = few (1-2 oktas), SCT = scattered (3-4 oktas), BKN = broken (5-7 oktas) or OVC = overcast (8 oktas), followed by the height of the cloud base in hundreds of feet above aerodrome elevation e.g. SCT018 = scattered clouds at 1800 ft. Note that in area and route forecasts, heights are AMSL or standard pressure altitudes.
Selection of cloud layers reported is made as follows:
The lowest Layer;
The next lowest layer of SCT or more;
The next higher layer of BKN or more;
Significant convective cloud (CB or TCU) if not already reported.
Sky obscured is given as VV followed by the vertical visibility in hundreds of feet. When the vertical visibility has not been measured, the group will be VV///
When there are no clouds of operational significance to report, no CB or TCU and CAVOK is not appropriate, the abbreviation NSC (No Significant Cloud) is used.

CAVOK The Visibility, Cloud, and Weather groups are replaced by the term CAVOK (cloud and visibility OK) when the following conditions exist simultaneously:
Visibility is 10km or more
No CB or TCU and no cloud below 5000 feet or Minimum Sector Altitude (whichever is the greater)
No significant weather at or in the vicinity of the aerodrome.

Temperature Air temperature and dewpoint are reported in whole degrees Celsius, e.g. 10/07 = Temperature 10°C/ Dew point 7°C.
QNH QNH is stated to the nearest whole hectopascal (equivalent to a millibar) rounded down and preceded by the letter Q e.g. Q1013 = QNH 1013 Hectopascals.
Recent Weather Significant recent weather observed in the period since the last routine observation will be reported by using the code letters for weather preceded by the letters RE e.g. RETS = Recent
Wind Shear In a METAR, civil aerodromes may include wind shear if reported along the take off or approach paths in the lowest 1600 ft with reference to the runway. WS
is used to begin the group, e.g. WS TKOF RWY20. If the wind shear is affecting all runways, WS ALL RWY is reported.



Photos from Flickr – Algarve - various locations
The personal details on the photos have been redacted, leaving only the date
Sunday 29th April 2007

Short shadows, indicating close to solar zenith

Clear sky


Very short shadow, indicating very close to solar zenith

Short shadows, indicating close to solar zenith

Thursday 3rd May 2007
Clouds and warm clothing (from Windsurfing website)

Near Faro. Thick cloud cover

Overcast. Approx. 6 oktas. (6/8 cloud cover) Warm clothing and scarf

This weather pattern extended to a large part of Portugal

This photo is of Arrifana beach, Alzejur, some 25 km from PdL on the west coast
facing out into the Atlantic

By late evening, indicated by the long shadows, the cloud was beginning to break up


All the above photos are in the public domain and may be found at

Personal names, identifying details and faces have been redacted.


Photos from the World Windsurfing competition, 29th April – 6th May 2007
Portimão, Algarve, Portugal

Accessed from

These photos were taken on Thursday 3rd May 200

1485 "Right, okay. Is there anything at all that you can think might be useful leading up to Thursday, in the evenings, that you can remember now''
Reply "Err''

1485 "And conversation' Because I understand it was cold, rainy on a couple of days.'
Reply "Mm, mm, yes. I mean from the, you know from the, yeah it was quite cold some nights and you know perhaps nearly too cold to be sat outside err but there was certainly nothing that you know led me to any concern during that week err you know it was, you know we were all quite happy with, I say, what we were doing and err where, you know the way that we'd tackle things, it was err you know there's nothing that in my mind worried me.'

* * *

and it you know but it certainly seemed very quiet for that time of, well not, sorry, not for that time of year but just seemed very quiet but not, you know it was understandable for that time of the year. Err you know err the err the pool area you would never see a great number of people by, by the pool, you know the water was actually quite cold, you had to be quite brave to go in the pool. You know the Tapas area itself during the daytime certainly you'd perhaps see the odd people from time to time, err but it wasn't, it certainly wasn't full by, you know, any capacity. Err you know and the eating in the Millennium the first night, I say I can't recall hardly any other people being there and when we had been eating in the Tapas bar there wasn't many couples in the evening you know so the general reflection for the whole time was err there wasn't that many people. Err you know there was some other couples that err Kate and Gerry had you know made friends with through the err tennis you know that we got to know a little bit as well and you know you generally tend to see the same people err but yeah it was very quiet err you know it was quite windy err you know which wasn't surprising as I say already it had been quite cold in the evening but err so that's really my''

1485 "Yeah.'
Reply "Recollections of what the place, how the place came across but.'

01:25:47 1485 "I think one of you commented on err England being warm while you were over there.'
Reply "Was it' Probably.'

1485 "Can you remember that''
Reply "Err probably.'
4078 ”Do you remember much about that particular, with it being the first meal?”

Reply ”Well no nothing, you know, we were all looking forward to having a, a good week really. I mean it was, the weather was not very good, it was quite cold err and err I’m not sure whether the first, the first, first night err I remember giving a jumper to Kate that I’d, you know, I’d taken a sort of parka zip up thing err that might have been the first night I don’t know, because she’d only got a, a flimsy shirt on or whatever. It was cold and I lent her my jumper and after that we went down err some of us had jackets on, you know, it was quite cold, and the Tapas restaurant was, although it had a roof on it and it had a err sort of Perspex screen down the side it was actually open at the end so you could get a, quite a err breeze blowing through, err but no I mean we were just all err having a, having a nice meal and, and it was like that every night really.”

4078 ”But Wednesday stands out to you because you know the weather wasn’t very good?”

Reply ”Wednesday I remember because it was raining in the morning, we thought oh no tennis, you know, but we did have the tennis later on because I remember err we were waiting for the courts to dry.”

* * *

4078 ”And you don’t know which days they were, and I accept that, but can you remember the times at the beach and remember how busy the beach was when you were there?”

Reply ”The beach wasn’t busy, at that time of year it was still quite cold and err its not what I would call a busy beach err we did eat in the err there was a, err, sort of café restaurant on the beach, I can’t remember what its called err I remember we visited that err earlier on in the week I think and that, that was always quite busy that particular restaurant.”

* * *

4078 ”Did you venture in the pool at all?”

Reply ”Yeah eventually.”

4078 ”How was it?”

Reply ”Cold.”

4078 ”Cold, that’s what everyone else has said.”

Reply ”Yeah err…” 

'So what was the weather like, for example''
'I'm just trying to think'.
'That probably might put you, that might put you back in it a little bit more there'.
'The weather wasn't very good, on the whole, and it was quite cold, erm, and there wasn't a lot of wind at all for the, in the mornings for the sailing, because it, and wind surfing, it was all a bit of a, a wash out. Erm, but, yeah, it was quite cold, quite cloudy, it'd have spells of sunshine, but the weather wasn't great those first sort of two days, two or three days. Erm, it didn't rain or anything. And I can't really, huh, you know, tell you more than that'.

* *

'No, no. No, generally we were all pretty knackered and went back and went to bed. I think the Wednesday night we'd stayed out and had a nightcap inside the, erm, the bar area, because it was quite cold outside, and we had a coffee, we went inside and had a coffee and, erm, a liqueur, but I'm pretty sure that was the Wednesday'.
4078 'What was the weather like during the week''

Reply 'Erm, it was sunny but cold, the pools were freezing, so we didn't, even though the pool was there, it was unusual for people to be in it. Erm, sunny most days, it got cloudy and it rained on the Wednesday and the Wednesday evening was pretty sort of, in the evenings it was very cold, so at the Tapas Restaurant,

* *

4078 'Did you play tennis every day''

Reply 'No, erm, no, I think, I think we tried to play tennis, because they two things, they do sort of organised lessons and we signed up for some lessons which got delayed for weather reasons later in the week,

* * *

4078 'Do you remember when they were''

Reply 'Erm, I know there was one on the last Thursday, because it got moved over from Wednesday, because Wednesday it rained and Thursday was a pretty decent day for weather, erm, so it would probably have been, if I'm thinking it's three, it would probably have been Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, but I can't remember'.
578 'Okay. So we move on then, we move forward to Thursday'.
Reply 'Mmm mmm'.

1578 'The third of May, are you able to summarise the days activities''
Reply 'Yeah, the day was actually, it was different to the others because, well it was warmer weather wise,

* * *

I mean Grace was asleep for about two hours, so she would get up about half three, four o'clock and then I think we just went to the pool, we discovered it was pretty cold and so she wasn't that keen on swimming, neither was I, erm

Reply “Yeah, I think err so it wasn’t, that’s one reason why we didn’t open the shutters to open the window or anything in that room, it wasn’t actually really hot at all, it was actually quite cloudy in the days and at night it was actually quite chilly.”

4078 “So it wasn’t sort of going in the pool weather or, only if you’re very brave.”
Reply “No it was really, really cold, I mean I think Russell went in because he’s a nutter and goes in the Atlantic in February but no it was more, after, it got warmer after so we did go in the pool after May the third but no before that I don’t think we, maybe we’d been in once and then decided it was a bad idea.”

* * *

4078 “What was the weather like at that time when you remember seeing Madeleine on the beach then?”
Reply “Erm, I think that day was a bit nicer actually. I think, I’m trying to, I’ve got pictures of Ella, of Evie, that’s about the first day I took pictures actually, and I’ve got pictures of Evie and I’m trying to remember what she was wearing. It was a tee-shirt, so I don’t think it was, it wasn’t as, I think it was actually getting a bit nicer, it wasn’t as cold. No, yeah, because the Thursday was actually probably one of the first nice days, which is why I think we had gone later in the day, we took all the kids down to the beach because it was actually nicer weather. So, yeah, the Thursday was probably the first day I think the sun had more come out in the day”.

* * *

4078 “Can you just write ‘bar area’ on that because I’ll forget”.
Reply “Yeah, and there were some people inside because it was quite chilly by, by this, it was actually quite, quite cold”.

* * *

I remember I was wearing, because it was cold, I’d got Russell’s big, I’d borrowed one of his, erm, fleeces, so I’d got a big sort of fleece, it probably came down to about here, but then I’d got flip-flops on and cropped trousers, because I’d only got, I didn’t take jeans, I know I didn’t take jeans on holiday, and then. 

I recall we all went to the pool as the kids wanted to swim, it was a windy and cold I’d say it was mid afternoon time, I remember that the PAYNE’S and MCCANN’S arrived at some point whilst we were all at the pool.

Chapter 28: Appendix: Two Photos which tell an important story