Charles Maclean was born in 1946, eldest son of Sir Fitzroy Maclean of Strachur, Argyll. He was educated at Eton and Oxford. Before becoming a full-time writer he had a variety of jobs, including periods as a merchant seaman and as a cowboy; he also played in a rock and roll band.
In a diverse and international writing career, he has been on the staff of Vogue and the Ecologist. He has also written prose fiction, including The Pathetic Phallus (1977), The Watcher (1982) and The Silence (1996). In the mid-70s he spent two years writing and researching The Wolf Children, a true story of two girls found living with wolves in the jungles of Bengal and published to wide praise in 1977. He has also written a number of books on the landscape and culture of Scotland, including Malt Whisky (1997), Scottish Country (1992) and Romantic Scotland (2000).