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Long long ago in the ancient capital of Northmavine, and centre of the Viking Universe, in the green and fertile paradise now known as Queyfirth, there lived a light haulage contractor. A quiet, moderate man, his daily duty was to ferry milk from the dairy herds of Collafirth to the Ollick Liver Oil works in nearby Sullom Voe, the workers craving the milky goodness for their healthy teeth and glossy coats.
Kirning became a necessity after the historic trip of the 11th August 1127. It was a moderate morning when Bob (for that was his name) left Collafirth that day and comment was that he heard the Rhubarb growing as he passed the Queyfirth Ness. A light breeze from the North East carried the sound of Tammie Norries twittering on the Skerries o' Skea.
When passing the North end of Lamba the wind dropped and the temperature soared to simmit-laying –aff extremes. Bob had become becalmed and trapped at the centre of the freak anti-cyclone that had caused the Neep fields of a Mississippi cotton picking delta town to go fozy two months previously.
As the sun reached its optimum zenith, the illicit cargo hidden under the taft, bound for Trader Thomas, exerted its mystical influence on our hero. Unable to resist, Bob convinced himself that Skollay wouldn't miss the profits of one horn of Neep Spirit, distilled from the world renowned Tirvister Neep Platching Vats of the Shergenay Region of Gluss.
And lo, the combination of the heat and the pukes-a-day (meaning “water of life” in the old tongue) caused Bob to Neab.
Bob arose from his Neep-induced stupor and glanced at his handsome bronze plated row-locks scallop wrist sun dial and discovered that a whole day had elapsed.
Bob skoited skyward and saw a weather head and realized that the wind was on its way, either that or it was the kell heart he had eaten for his breakfast the previous day. After a time Bob felt the spindrift on his starn and retrieved his posterior in over the gunnel, hoisted his mainsail and set course once more for Sullom Voe. In order to warn the workers of his imminent arrival, Bob thought he would set off his distressed flares but the wind chill started to freeze up his block and tackle so he drew them back on again.
After a choppy passage the longboat was secured to tressel No 4 and was immediately pounced upon by Quality Control Officers B Magnuson and Yaffle Von Kirningbottom who demanded to dip their churns.
To Bob's dismay when the hold was opened the cargo was found to be off spec and quality control would not accept his load.
Disgruntled, Bob grabbed an oar and stirred amongst the milk thinking he might yet salvage something from this disastrous trip. Suddenly creamy yellow lumps started floating to the surface in the milk receptacle. His natural curiosity getting the better of him, Bob tasted the solids and found that they were Fan-Dabby-Dozy!!!
Delighted that his long and dangerous voyage may not all have been in vain, Bob hastily called back the Quality Control Inspectors and insisted they taste the Golden globules.
Yaffle Von Kirningbottom sampled some on the point of his finger and declared it wisna bad ava!! Grub-boxes were hastily opened and Broonies presented for klining. Bob waited with baited breath as the savoury treats were consumed. When the inspectors announced their satisfaction Bob heaved a great sigh of relief and started thinking of the fortune that was sure to follow this momentous discovery.
However, due to a slight hitch with the patenting system, ie there was none, there ensued an unrestrained free for all with anyone having access to milk kirning for all they were worth to try and maximize profit from the unfolding bonanza.Through time supply exceeded demand and a whole economic system which had evolved around butter collapsed in the Waas Road crash of '42. That however is a story for another time.
With the dairy products market in total disarray and a butter Ness big enough to feed the third world for years, there was no need for the frenzied kirning that had gone on up to this time. People still yearned for the buzz that came with frantic kirning however, so competitions were set up to feed the public's need. It was not until the dawn of the second Millenium however, that these became the formalized kirnathons that we know today. These are now among the largest sporting events on the calendar, alongside Merry Tiller Grand Prix racing.