OUR 1st VAN

OUR 1st VAN was a McLouis Tandy 366g, bought new in June 2007 from Don Amott in Hilton, Derbyshire. It has a fixed double bed over a garage and an occasional double on the table/bench seat.


The base vehicle is a Renault Master 3ltr. diesel.


McLouis was a brand imported into the UK, primarily, but not exclusively by Don Amott. It was made in Italy near Florence using a right hand drive Renault base vehicle, but the McLouis brand is no longer imported into the UK, although it is still a big seller on the continent.

From January 2015 onwards a great deal of effort was expended to prepare the van for a 9 week, 9 country, 3,500 mile trip around Europe in June and July. To make this length of trip possible a few upgrades were necessary.

The main changes made were a new custom made Duvalay mattress and an upgrade to the gas system. The 13kg and 6kg Calor gas bottles would never have lasted 9 weeks so a Gaslow LPG refillable system was fitted by Knowepark Caravans in Livingston.


The only problem we have ever had with the van occurred three weeks into the trip as we arrived at Canet de Mar, on the coast north of Barcelona. The heat was intense (for a Scotsman) and was reaching 35 degrees when the fridge packed in. Luckily the site we were on knew of a local electrician who might be able to help fix the problem.



He tested the system and eventually found the problem. There appeared to be a few loose connections and so he proceeded to take every wiring connection apart and solder them back together.

A fantastic result and well worth the 100 Euros it cost as it kept the food and drink cool in what would be 35 degree heat for the next month in Spain, the south of France, Italy and even into Switzerland. 




Since then other upgrades have been fitted including a 120w solar panel to top up the new twin leisure batteries and the van battery. This has been a great success and phones, tablets etc can be topped up at anytime where previously charging was only possible when driving or hooked up on a site, which is a rarity nowadays as wildcamping is the order of the day.

2018 UPDATE
Halfway through our 6 month European Tour, and after a few weeks on a campsite at El Campello near Alicante, Spain a fault has developed again with the fridge. Fumes are seeping into the van, not gas fumes but exhaust fumes which is just as dangerous. The site we are on called out the local motorhome/caravan repair guy and he checked it out but said he could nor repair it as he was not qualified to service a Dometic fridge.

The site then called the local Dometic repair depot but being the middle of a Spanish afternoon it was closed! I e mailed them in the evening with a Google translation and they replied the next morning. The upshot is a service engineer came out and and found “muchos muchos problemas”.

Work begins to fix the fridge...
Work begins to fix the fridge…

It seemed that over the years soot had accumulated in the exhaust pipes and this now meant the pilot light was not burning properly thus creating the noxious smell in the van. Two hours later he had it fixed after spilling a bit of blood in the process!

Louis draws blood from the repair man...
Louis draws blood from the repair man…

The BIG surprise – We’ve sold Louis the McLouis!

After just short of 11 years owning Louis the McLouis, we have now very reluctantly sold it. Louis was a fantastic investment, allowing us to take many holidays of all durations, culminating in the 6 month European Road Trip we have just completed over the winter of 2017 / 2018.

A couple of punctures aside, the van has never once let us down, started first time, every time, and has travelled over 62,000 miles up hill and down dale in all weather conditions, taking us all over the UK and Europe. Not only did it cope with the often terrible road conditions at home and abroad, but also the vagaries of the weather including snow, ice, hail, rain, hurricanes, through to baking heat.

It has taken us to Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Luxembourg, Italy, Monaco, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, where it went over the St Gotthard Pass and the Grimsel Pass, both over 8,000ft, twice the height of Ben Nevis!

We have parked it in the middle of cities, towns, villages, forests, on top of hills and mountains, beside rivers, lakes, lochs and the sea. From very expensive campsites in Switzerland to free wild-camping spots (as often as possible), we have sampled all forms of stopovers.

The decision to sell Louis evolved over the past few months as we toured Europe and spent so much time in it. In evaluating how it was performing, it became evident there were aspects that did not lend itself to long term touring or long term stopovers, as at El Campello over the festive period. The driving performance was perfect, it was the living accommodation and equipment that needed upgrading. In Spain we went to motorhome dealers in Malaga and Seville, as well as getting a tour of their van from a couple who had a model we were interested in. That, coupled to searching online, reading articles, watching YouTube videos and talking to more experienced long-term travellers, led us to this decision, one I hope we don’t come to regret!

In homage to Louis, here are some of the highlights of the past 11 years.

We bought the van in June 2007 and I took it away for a test run to Shrewsbury for the weekend…

Shrewsbury - 2007 - Louis's first outing...
Shrewsbury – 2007 – Louis’s first outing…

The Navigator had a major operation in 2007 and this was her first time away in Louis in August 2007…

Louis at Carsington Water...
Louis and The Navigator at Carsington Water, Derbyshire…

In September the girls joined us for a tour around Scotland and this picture was taken at the top of the Rest and be Thankful in Argyll – little did we know then that we would pass this spot regularly to get to our new home in Mid Argyll…

Louis on top of the Rest and be Thankful in September 2007...

In October 2007 we went to Kasell in Germany to visit my Grandfather’s war grave…

Louis at Kasell in October 2007...
Louis at Kasell in October 2007…

We used the van in all weathers – here at Mablethorpe on the east coast in early 2008…

A Bank Holiday at Mablethorpe on the Lincolnshire coast...

If that was one of the coldest nights in the van, the following picture shows one of the warmest places we ever stayed at, over 35 degrees near St Tropez…

Probably the hottest place Louis has been - near St Tropez...

We’ve stayed on farms – here in the Derbyshire Dales…

We've stayed on farms - Castleton and Hope in the Derbyshire Dales...
We’ve stayed on farms – Castleton and Hope in the Derbyshire Dales…

We’ve slept to the sound of the waves coming ashore – here in Dorset…

In 2008 we met a relation of Louis in Co. Donegal on the west coast of Ireland and it too was bought from Don Amott in Derbyshire!

We met a relation of Louis in Co Donegal on the west coast of Ireland...
We met a relation of Louis in Co Donegal on the west coast of Ireland…

We’ve been on ferries – large and small – here the Corran ferry just south of Fort William…

Emma was a frequent guest – especially if there is a chance of a BBQ…

Louis amid the dramatic scenery on Skye...Louis amid the dramatic scenery on Skye…

Over the years Louis was upgraded to be more self sufficient with a solar panel, twin leisure batteries and re-fillable gas tanks and we have parked for free all over Europe but this spot on Islay is probably one of the best…

Probably the best wildcamping spot Louis ever parked in - on Islay...

Having said that, this spot beside the sea at Duror is another favourite wildcamping location…

Another favourite wildcamping spot at Duror...

Maybe not the highest viewpoint Louis has ever stopped at but this site overlooking Bilbao was spectacular, especially after dark with the lights of the city twinkling beneath us…

Looking over Bilbao...
Looking over Bilbao…

Bilbao was a great view but a couple of months later Louis would take on two of Switzerland’s most spectacular Passes on the same day – the Saint Gotthard and the Grimsel – both over 8,000 feet!

The highest Louis has ever stayed at - the Grimsel Pass, Switzerland...
The highest Louis has ever stayed at – the Grimsel Pass, Switzerland…

Louis has parked up overlooking some of Europe’s great rivers, the Loire, Seine, Rhine, Moselle and this next picture shows the ‘Love Boat’ passing Louis on the Moselle, this was a great location to spend a few days wild camping.

The Love Boat passing Louis on the Moselle near Remich in Luxembourg...
The Love Boat passing Louis on the Moselle near Remich in Luxembourg…

Parking up beside water, whether a river, lake, loch or the sea has always been a favourite location and this next picture shows Louis killing time in Belgium before heading for a nightime ferry at Dunkirk…

Louis beside the North Sea in Belgium...
Louis beside the North Sea in Belgium…

Over the years we have met some lovely people on our travels and we were lucky to meet Astrid, Phillippa and Joel at El Campello, Spain and we spent Christmas Eve 2017 with them…

Astrid, Phillippa and Joel join us on Christmas Eve...Astrid, Phillippa and Joel join us on Christmas Eve 2017…

Louis has enabled us to see new places all over Europe and spend time relaxing and enjoying life, and it as one of the best decisions we have made to purchase it back in 2007. It was intended to be the van we used in retirement to carry on with the journey….

However, this last long 6 month trip exposed some little areas where we think improvements could be made, hence the reluctant decision to sell this fantastic machine, in fact it is far more than a mere machine, a true home from home, and we are sure Louis will give another couple, or family as much pleasure in the coming years as we have enjoyed with it…

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