Barbara McLean is a Scottish Blue Badge Tourist Guide, work which allows her to share her love for and knowledge of Scotland with a wide variety of visitors. On her walks and extended tours, she interprets both built and natural landscapes through a mixture of history, geography, story, music, and literature. 

After graduating from the University of Strathclyde with a First in Honours English, she gained her Post-Graduate Teaching Certificate in Edinburgh and taught in secondary schools on and off for the next twenty years. Her final teaching post before training as a tour guide was in the challenging yet rewarding role of Outreach teacher, working with disaffected teenagers who had been expelled from mainstream schools.   

 She took time out from her career in secondary education in order to look after her young family, and before her eventual return to teaching she had a variety of other occupations, including: scriptwriting for BBC Radio Scotland, researching and editing BBC Schools Radio programmes; managing a student cafe in a language school; and running  a small literary agency, (reading, editing, and finding suitable publishers for chosen manuscripts). She researched and edited a book about the child diarist Marjory Fleming (Marjorys Book: the Journals, Letters and Poems; Mercat Press).  

This led to her writing and presenting two performances to mark the bicentenaries of Marjory Flemings 1803 birth and 1811 death, in 2003 and 2011 respectively, at the Netherbow Theatre. In 2019 she co-wrote and performed at the Netherbow Theatre in a stage piece about the Scots-born Poet of the Yukon, Robert Service.