Currents were measured along two routes through Yell Sound to Sullom Voe in the Shetland Islands. Current meter moorings were deployed by the consulting engineers Peter Fraenkell and Partners for one month at 20 positions with three meters which measured the flow from near surface to a depth of 20 metres. The accuracy of these measurements is considered and the difficulty of making measurements in this region is illustrated.
The paper discusses the nature and variability of the currents that were measured and resolves the currents into a tidal and non-tidal component. An analysis procedure is developed for removing the tidal component and for producing tidal current vectors for each position. From this the general tidal circulation pattern is constructed and discussed. It is shown that tidal currents along the eastern route are too high at certain states of the tide for safe navigation.
Current surges of significant magnitude are shown to exist throughout the area. These are driven by the tidal motion and it is suggested that they are an effect of travelling gyres which are generated in the lee of islands and shallow banks when the tidal streams are largest.