A farmer from near Desborough found water – where a team of specialist engineers failed – to save a popular race series from the threat of cancellation.
With their reservoir running low thanks to the dry weather, organisers of the Dingley Point-to-Point called in Gretton Site Investigations (GSI) to sink a borehole on the course.
But despite drilling five holes at various sites and depths, the firm came up empty.
Running out of ideas, the firm’s manager Mark Ferguson called on the expertise of Stuart Howes, a farmer with a reputation of having the rare talent of water divining.
And armed with only his trusted copper dowsing rods, the 66-year-old found water almost immediately.
A sixth borehole was sunk at a depth of 150ft and the water began to flow.
The new source produced 900 litres an hour and allowed Dingley organisers to water the racecourse and ensure the first of three meetings went ahead on Saturday.
Mr Howes, of Eckland Lodge Farm off the A6, said he first tried the ancient art of water dowsing when he was 17.
Holding the rods out in front of him parallel to one another, he walks slowly across a site.
When they start to point outwards he knows he has found water.
His talents have been pressed into service scores of times, at first to help out on his own farm and later to find water for firms such as GSI.
He said: “They’re not sure how it works but it seems like the water is giving off an energy which I pick up. I act like a receiver.
“It sounds a bit odd I suppose but there we go.”
Mr Ferguson of GSI said: “You would expect that you would find water on the low areas of terrain but so often it is at the highest where we strike.
“Stuart has got a magical touch. It’s fascinating to watch and I have no idea how he does it but it works.”