Tamar Valley Events: The Calstock Giant
by Angharad Miller
Thinking of visiting the Tamar Valley? Make sure you stay updated on all the annual events Calstock has to offer!
Celebrate May Day with the Calstock Giant
This spring – May 6th to be exact! – Calstock will host an annual event like no other. Based upon the romantic legend of Tamara and Tavy, the Calstock Giant is a lively parade through the village that can’t be missed!
Calstock is a friendly village located along the banks of the River Tamar in Cornwall, a designated area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but each year it has a rather unusual visitor! Beginning just before the famous Calstock Viaduct, the Calstock Giant leads the village on a playful progression through the streets, knocking on windows and celebrating May Day with traditional Cornish music. Don’t let this keep you quiet though – pots and pans are just as welcome as traditional instruments, so be sure to make some noise!
The Calstock Giant’s visit is a perfect celebration for families – and it’s all entirely free! Celebrate May Day with traditional Cornish music and an ancient legend.
The Legend of Tamara and Tavy
The legend of Tamara and Tavy dates back to the era when giants and other fabled creatures lived all across Dartmoor. Amongst them was a beautiful water nymph called Tamara, who lived with her parents in the caverns at the edge of the moors. Unfortunately for Tamara, she hated living in the dark, damp caverns that her parents had made home. Striking out on her own, Tamara would often venture out into the sunshine of the rocky tors and green valleys of the moor – the land of giants. No matter how her parents warned her about travelling into giant land, however, she couldn’t resist the light and beauty of the moor.
One sunny day, whilst Tamara was picking flowers in the valleys, two giants named Tavy and Torridge spotted her. Both fell instantly in love with her, completely ruining their friendship! Now that they were rivals for Tamara’s affection, the two giants would make excuses every day in order to try and meet the nymph on her own. Tavy would claim he had urgent business in the south, whilst Torridge would announce that he had lost some sheep in the north. Each day, they would both go looking for Tamara, but she wasn’t fooled by any of it! Born with a mischievous streak, Tamara loved playing hide-and-seek with the two giants. Every time Tavy and Torridge thought they had her cornered, she would vanish only to re-appear closer to the other giant.
This game went on for months, until one day Tamara got distracted by watching sundews catching flies. Engrossed by the plants, she didn’t notice both Tavy and Torridge creeping up on her. By the time she spotted them there was no escape. Luckily for Tamara, both giants declared their undying love to her and promised not to harm her. For hours they bargained, begged and negotiated with Tamara, but she couldn’t decide between the two!
Whilst the two giants were desperately trying to win Tamara over, her father realised how late she was getting home. The booming voices of the giants soon led her to his daughter, still being brow-beaten by Tavy and Torridge. Angered, Tamara’s father cast a spell to put the giants into a deep sleep. The little nymph realised that this meant she was going to be taken back to the caverns under the moor forever, and told her father that from now on she would live above ground. Yelling at her father for interfering, Tamara argued that she had to be happy and free. In a fit of anger, Tamar’s father cast another spell to turn her into a stream. “Now you can spend eternity flowing across the moors you love so much,” he said, and left.
Soon enough, Tavy woke to find that Tamara had disappeared. Leaving Torridge to sleep it off, Tavy went to seek advice from his father. After some consideration, the giant’s father realised that his son would never be happy unless he could join Tamara. Casting a spell, the Tavy’s father turned him into a fast flowing stream which flowed southwards, cutting a deep cleave through the moor. In his search for Tamara, the Tavy flooded the moorlands and gouged through Lydford before racing towards Tavistock. Finally, Tavy found Tamara and joined her river.
From that day onward, Tavy and Tamara were united forever as the confluence of the rivers Tavy and Tamar.
If you’re looking for a luxurious and cosy place to stay to enjoy this unique festival, Mariners House is for you! Just like the Calstock Giant, the House is perfect for young families looking to enjoy all the Tamar Valley views have to offer as an Area of Outstanding Beauty. Located on the border between Cornwall and Devon, Mariners House is perfectly situated for visitors looking to enjoy the best both areas have to offer.
Check the availability this May for a once in a lifetime festival!
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