He was brought up in Tain and Inverness, and educated there and in Edinburgh. His books were mainly about Scotland, and his romanticising style incurred the displeasure of Compton Mackenzie, who caricatured him in some of his novels (perhaps unjustly so as MacGregor was forced to be critically realistic about certain aspects of life on the west coast, in his book The western Isles). Judging by the title of the 1931 book A Last Voyage to St. Kilda. Being the Observations and Adventures of an Egotistic Private Secretary who was alleged to have been 'warned off' That Island by Admiralty Officials when attempting to emulate Robinson Crusoe at the Time of Its Evacuation there might have been something to caricature. In partial explanation, St Kilda was evacuated in 1930; at the time he was Private Secretary to the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. The same book was the subject of a legal case when MacGregor brought an injunction to prevent the distribution of The Edge of the World, a film by Michael Powell that he claimed was based on it. MacGregor lost the case.
He lived in London for most of his adult life in Swan Court and Upper Cheyne Row, Chelsea.
His book about his childhood, The Goat Wife, tells the evocative story of his hard working and resourceful Aunt Dorothy, who left a comfortable existence in Edinburgh's Ann Street - reputed to be the most haunted street in Edinburgh - to begin life as a solo crofter in the Easter Ross village of Ardgay (then known locally as "High Wind"). Spanning the period before the First World War until the end of the Second, it captures the last remnants of the simplicity, privations and charm of Scottish rural community life. The "Victor" in the book is the poet Frederick Victor Branford.
Along with T. Ratcliffe Barnett, an Edinburgh Minister and author, MacGregor reflects a transitional period during the first half of the 20th century when the north of Scotland was still rural and mostly unaffected by modern society.
He was also a campaigner against vivisection.Click here to hide this biography