Shetland Yell Sound

Introduction

This area focusses on Yell Sound, the passage between mainland Shetland and Yell, including its southern entrance out to Lunna Ness and the south east corner of Yell. This small area has been separated out due to the large amount of tidal stream information that it contains.

Times of high water

Point of Fethaland: High water is 1 hours and 40 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Burra Voe: High water is 1 hours and 36 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Quey Firth, Colla Firth: High water is 1 hours and 36 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Gluss Voe: High water is 1 hours and 30 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Sullom Voe: High water is 1 hours and 35 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Orka Voe: High water is 28 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Firths Voe: High water is 15 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Swing Voe, Colla Firth, Dales Voe: High water is 25 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Hamna Voe and Boatsroom Voe: High water is 25 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Burravoe: High water is 30 minutes before high water at Lerwick

Tidal streams

The streams through most of Yell Sound are less than 2.5 knots, with the very fast flows restricted to the passages among the islands at the southern entrance. The asymmetry of the Sound, with a fast flowing passage to the south east and the dead end of Sullom Voe to the south west creates complicated flows. Because of the amount of commercial traffic in the area, the streams are unusually well documented and the following information is unusually dense. The best way to understand the flows is to refer to the inset of the Admiralty tidal stream atlas which covers this area in detail.

Point of Fethaland: The east south-east going stream begins at 4 hours before high water at Lerwick. The west north-west going stream begins at 2 hours after high water at Lerwick. The flow reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs. Much of the flow can be avoided by staying close inshore.

Yell Sound: In the wide part of Yell Sound: The north going stream begins at 1 hours and 5 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The south going stream begins at 5 hours and 25 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The north going stream reaches a speed of 2.5 knots at springs. The south going stream reaches a speed of 1.5 knots at springs. Streams are significantly affected by weather conditions.

Yell Sound, west of Muckle Holm: The north north-east going stream begins at 33 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The south south-west going stream begins at 6 hours and 15 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The north north-east going stream reaches a speed of 0.7 knots at springs. The south south-west going stream reaches a speed of 0.8 knots at springs.

Shoal Areas in Yell Sound: Flows in the outer part of Yell Sound are mostly below 2 knots. However, there are four shoal areas which create overfalls and flows greater than 2 knots. These are Beaufort Bank, South Ladie Bank, The Fiord and Linna Bas. These areas are across the middle of the sound in the 2 miles south and south east of Little Holm.

Yell Sound, west of Head of Brough: In the vicinity of South Ladie Bank: The south south-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 40 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The north north-west going stream begins at 30 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The south south-east going stream reaches a speed of 1.4 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 2.6 knots at springs.

North of Lamba, Yell Sound: Around 1 mile north of Lamba North Point: The south south-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 15 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The north north-west going stream begins at 50 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The flow reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

Yell Sound, eddy at entrance to Colla Firth: An eddy here flows north starting 5 hours and 25 minutes before high water at Lerwick reaching a maximum speed of 1 knots at springs. The eddy extends at least a kilometre from the entrance to the Firth.

West of Lamba, Yell Sound: An eddy forms here, with the following flows: The north going stream begins at 30 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The south going stream begins at 4 hours and 45 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The flow reaches a speed of 0.7 knots at springs.

West of Little Roe, Yell Sound: An eddy forms here, with the following flows: The south south-east going stream begins at 5 hours after high water at Lerwick. The north north-west going stream begins at 45 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The south south-east going stream reaches a speed of 0.5 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 0.6 knots at springs.

Near Tinga Skerry, Yell Sound: The east south-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 30 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The west north-west going stream begins at 35 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The east south-east going stream reaches a speed of 0.8 knots at springs. The west north-west going stream reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs.

Within Sullom Voe: Tidal flows are slight - less than 0.5 knots

Mio Ness, Yell Sound: The tides here are irregular, likely the result of eddies forming off the point The east going stream begins at 4 hours after high water at Lerwick. The west going stream begins at 30 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The east going stream reaches a speed of 2.4 knots at springs. The west going stream reaches a speed of 2 knots at springs.

Eddy on east side of Sound of Yell: Between the Ness of West Sandwick and the Ness of Sound: An eddy here flows south starting 3 hours after high water at Lerwick reaching a maximum speed of 1 knots at springs.

Narrow channels at the south end of Yell Sound: The south south-east going stream begins at 5 hours and 25 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The north north-west going stream begins at 1 hours and 5 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The flow reaches a speed of 7 knots at springs. Eddies form around the islands. Overfalls form in a number of places including over a shallows west of Hoga.

South entrance to Yell Sound, west of Bigga: The south-east going stream begins at 6 hours and 10 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The north-west going stream begins at 10 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The flow reaches a speed of 3.8 knots at springs.

South entrance to Yell Sound, 1km east of Fugla Ness: The south south-east going stream begins at 5 hours after high water at Lerwick. The north north-west going stream begins at 30 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The south south-east going stream reaches a speed of 4.2 knots at springs. The north north-west going stream reaches a speed of 1 knots at springs. It must be assumed that an eddy affects this area given the rather different flows to the west of Bigga. Overfalls form to south of Bigga.

South entrance to Yell Sound, south west of Samphrey: Between Samphrey and Mossbank: The north going stream begins at 30 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The south going stream begins at 5 hours and 50 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The north going stream reaches a speed of 5.3 knots at springs. The south going stream reaches a speed of 4.3 knots at springs. The 'north going' flow here runs at a bearing of around 30 degrees, whilst the 'south-going' flow runs at around 160 degrees. A race can form.

South entrance to Yell Sound, near Samphrey: The south-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 25 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The north-west going stream begins at 2 hours and 5 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The flow reaches a speed of 7 knots at springs. The Rumble is an area of shallow and drying rocks around 1km north east of The Scult on Samphrey, marked by a white light beacon. Violent turbulence occurs here when the streams run quickly.

South entrance to Yell Sound, between Samphrey and Linga: The east south-east going stream begins at 5 hours after high water at Lerwick. The west north-west going stream begins at 25 minutes after high water at Lerwick. The east south-east going stream reaches a speed of 4.3 knots at springs. The west north-west going stream reaches a speed of 0.6 knots at springs. The north-west going flow is weak and variable, generally less than 0.5 knots.

Eddy along south coast of Yell: An eddy forms here, with the following flows: The east going stream begins at 4 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The west going stream begins at 1 hours and 55 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The west-going stream is strong, running up to 7 knots. It runs from Cloa Rock, a shallow area 1 km south of Muckle Skerry to Holm of Copister. The eddyline runs between Cloa Rock, Orfansy and the Holm. This eddyline can be turbulent when the west-going eddy opposes the main east-going stream. The eddy can be avoided close inshore.

Off Lunna Ness: The east south-east going stream begins at 4 hours and 25 minutes before high water at Lerwick. The west north-west going stream begins at 2 hours and 5 minutes after high water at Lerwick. A steep sea may form here. The flow can be avoided somewhat by staying inside Lunna Holm.

Notes

Sullom Voe Harbour Control: The oil terminal creates lots of vessel traffic of large ships in Yell Sound and Sullom Voe. Get in touch with Harbour Control on VHF 14 if paddling in Sullom Voe or the west channel of Yell Sound.

Access/Egress

Burra Voe: (HU 367 886) g A short track, with space for one or two vehicles to park, leads to a pier and shingle beach.

Colla Firth: (HU 359 843) g Pier, slipway and small marina, likely space to park a car or two.

Ollaberry: (HU 367 805) g Slipway near church, with space to park.

Mavis Grind east: (HU 341 683) g Small parking area by the road with easy access to Sullom Voe. Short portage possible into the sea to the west.

Garths Voe: (HU 402 745) g Parking area by the shoreline. If launching here, you will obviously need to be aware of shipping associated with Sullom Voe and Sella Ness and be in VHF contact with Sullom Voe.

Booth of Toft: (HU 436 762) g Parking by public toilets adjacent to a small beach by the ferry pier.

Mosbank: (HU 451 756) g Parking next to shingle beach.

Collafirth: (HU 432 688) g A track leads fro the end of the public road to a beach and, eventually, a pier. Space for a car at the end of the public road, or perhaps off the track.

Mooradale, Lunna Ness: (HU 496 708) g Small old harbour at the end of a short track. Space to park on gravel or grass.

Burravoe Marina, Yell: (HU 526 797) g Slipway, with space for parking nearby.

Mainland ferry pier, Yell: (HU 464 796) g Parking area with slipway just to the east of the ferry pier

Southladie Voe, Yell: (HU 450 879) g Road comes close to the shore. May be possible to leave a car on the verge. West Sand Wick, just to the north, may be a better option.

West Sand Wick, Yell: (HU 447 889) g Follow a track off the road signed 'Beach'. Small parking area at the end of the track, 80m from the beach.

Suggested trips

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