The story starts as usual in the Deans' home town of Wigan. The
actual adventure takes place on the Berwickshire Coast near the small
village of Coldlingham. This, though Berwick is mentioned, the bulk
of the events take place in Scotland. One of Mr. Deans' friends from
his days in the Royal Navy during the Second World War is now a
lighthouse keeper who has been based in many different parts of the
British Isles. He invites the children to stay with him during the
Easter holidays. The three members of the Dean family, plus their
three friends are all included in the invitation. Nearly half of the
book is then spent in describing events that take place before the
journey to Scotland. All the children are given the share in a
greenhouse by Andrew Forbes and his fiancee (who feature largely in
the earlier story "The Deans Solve a Mystery"). They are to be
allowed to grow what they want and are given six pounds to help them
stock and equip the enterprise. They decide to work as a cooperative
and, with the help of Caleb Moscrop, the old gardener at the hall,
they begin to labour and to plan. Caleb also introduces Buffin
(Bartholomew) Dean to the delights of pigeon care to pigeon racing.
Things are just beginning to get going when they are destined to go
away on holiday.
The lighthouse they travel to is a very remote one that is built into
the cliff rather than as a separate pillar or traditional tube
affair. Mr. Patterson, his wife and their daughter Doris are just one
family who live on the premises and Mr, Patterson is the senior
Two adventures befall the children whilst they are in Berwickshire.
The first is the traditional one of getting trapped by the tide.
Buffin, Doris and Beckie (who has injured her ankle) are forced to
retreat into a cave. The cave leads back to the cliff top but they
three prisoners have to be rescued by their siblings who pry away a
rock from the cleft above them. The cave proves to a part of the old
hermitage of St.Coll and also the probably haunt of smugglers from
two hundred years before.
Camille, the young French girl who lives next door to the Deans in
Wigan, is left alone with Mr. Patterson one day that suddenly becomes
stormy. A "Mayday" message comes in from a ship that is in trouble.
Here Camille proves her worth because the crew of the ship is all
French and radio communication proves problematical. She is able to
help Mr. Patterson fix the correction position so that the local
lifeboat can be launched to save the sailors in distress. There are
quite a few details in the book about the chain of lighthouses down
this part of the coast as the keepers make their regular radio
reports. One hears of the one on Bass Rock and others up on the Firth