This is what I believe to be the short route from the Mini Club/crèche to the Tapas area and apartment 5A. This goes up the east side of the Ocean Club. It is relatively flat (no stairs). It is ideally suited to using Sammy Snake from the crèche area to High Tea.
There is an alternative short route on the west side of the Ocean Club 24hr reception. That however is quite narrow and it would be very difficult to use Sammy Snake. There are also two short but quite steep parts that would be an obstacle for small children.
The short route taken by the McCanns could be either of these alternatives. Taking one child along either route is no big deal. That is much easier than a gaggle of children hanging on to Sammy Snake.
As far as I can tell, there is nothing in the PJ Files to nail whether the children were walked to High Tea using Sammy Snake or not. Perhaps nannies simply ushered the children without this device.
This particular route features in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann at several different places in the PJ Files and Kate’s book “Madeleine”. For example, it may well have been the route taken by Gerry McCann on the night of 3 May to see if Madeleine had made it to the Mini Club location. So keep an eagle eye out for lights on this route, to get some idea of what it looks like when darkness has fallen.
This short route needs a lot of photos to give you a decent idea of what it looks like. The time and effort in snapping the originals, editing them, and posting them is considerable. And for readers, it is a slow way of picking up information. And basically, those are the reasons why I want to swap to video.
My particular interest in this route is with reference to a pre-planned abduction. For this idea to fly, there has to be a trigger, an incident that sets the planning in motion.
Madeleine was walked through Luz, almost certainly on Sammy Snake with several other children of similar age, on something like 3 occasions. One of those could be the trigger, but that seems unlikely.
One obstacle is that on each of these trips, Madeleine went back to the Mini Club. That means a perpetrator had to follow her first back to the Mini Club, then hang around to see where she went from there, either to apartment 5A at lunchtime, or to High Tea + playtime then apartment 5A. This is a bit of a chain of requirements.
Another obstacle is the time the Luz excursions then leaves the perpetrator to plan an abduction. It is not a lot.
An alternative is that someone on or overlooking the short route saw Madeleine being escorted to High Tea with other children. This is a shorter chain, and opens the possibility of planning starting after the very first High Tea of Sunday, 29th April 2007.
All photos below were taken on 30 April 2016.
Here is the start of the short route, I think. The photo is beside what was the crèche/Mini Club. It appears now to be used as office space, most of it actually unused. The puzzle is where the entrance is. The only potential door is the one in the first photo, and that looks suspiciously like a store room. However, I cannot see that a crèche on the first floor would not have a door on the first floor, for safety reasons. This photo matches where the PJ Files show the trip to the beach began, so that door must be the one.
Photo 2. Swivelling right to face north, you can see the basic layout of the block. There is an apartment at the bottom, and a circular staircase to get to the level above. This whole area is split into different types of Palms e.g. Africa Palms, Coconut Palms etc.
Photo 3. This is all flat, so easy for the kids. There is a level below this terrace. We are not on the ground floor. So far, I have yet to spot a light, so I assume light at night time must have been what came through the crèche windows.
Photo 4. At the end of the terrace, it changes to cobbles, and we are now on the ground floor without actually going down anything. The glass structure ahead is the indoor swimming pool. On the right, there are 3 alternative paths leading to the car park, so although it is a car park, there should be safe options for the kids.
Photo 5. I am going to take the first path. It has no steps, so it is easy for small children. I haven’t noticed any lights yet. My route is going to be up across the car park to those 2 grey strips in the top left.
Photo 6. The view across the car park to the 2 grey strips shows the incline quite clearly. That initial climb is the toughest thing the children would face on the journey, but it is a decent surface.
Photo 7. The two grey strips are separated by a small, grass centre strip. I believe this is actually a wheelchair route permitting access north and south. However, it is ideal for Sammy Snake. A nanny leads the way pulling Sammy by a handle on the snake’s head. Down each side of the snake are more rings, and the kids hold on to those. That places each side neatly onto the grey strips.
Photo 8. The path continues north to a neatly trimmed bush. That funny platform on the right appears to be a resting place for wheelchair users. It seems to have a bulkhead light above, the first light I have noticed so far.
Photo 9. The path swings left to head west. There is another small light on the top of the wall.
Photo 10. The light on the right is the same one as in the last photo. The surface has changed to cobbles, but at least it is flat. The building on the left is Fiji Palms. To the right is the plot for Casa Liliana.
Photo 11. We are now at the west end of this path. In front is a little square. It is the southern end of the road running down the west side of Casa Liliana. This is where the laundry van in the PJ files would have been parked, because it is the closest vehicular access to Fiji Palms. There is another light here. Somewhere around here would be where Stephen Carpenter talked to Robert Murat over the fence at Casa Liliana. The block you can see near the centre is the east end of block 1.
Photo 12. Swivelling left at the same location, you can see how Fiji Palms is laid out, with a ground floor entrance to one apartment, and stairs up to the one above.
Photo 13. The tiles on the wall show we are at Fiji Palms apartments 1-12. Stephen and Carolyn Carpenter were in FP02. I did not check details of the numbering on the block, so I don’t know which end FP02 is at nor whether it is ground floor or upstairs. However, in addition to being on the likely short route, we are now on the route used by the Carpenters on 3 May, to get from the Tapas restaurant to their apartment.
If you have stuck with it through this lot, you will see just how laborious it is. A journey taking less than 3 minutes has taken ages to describe, and ages to read.
We are now half way between the crèche and the Tapas area. I will post the rest tomorrow before the fun and games kick off here in advance of the 9th anniversary.