One of a ring of islands surrounding Scapa Flow in the Orkney islands, Burray is sandwiched between the Mainland of Orkney to the north and South Ronaldsay to the south. It is connected to both of these islands as well as the smaller islets of Lamb Holm and Glimps Holm by the Churchill Barriers which were erected during the Second World War after the sinking of HMS Royal Oak to prevent German U-boats entering Scapa Flow. Irregularly shaped and with an area of 903 ha (2231 acres), the island is separated from the mainland of Orkney by Holm Sound, from South Ronaldsay by Water Sound and from the small island of Hunda to the west by Hunda Sound. Echnaloch Bay in the northwest opens out into Scapa Flow and fringing the bay facing eastwards is a fine long beach backed by the Links. The island's population declined from 262 in 1961 to 209 in 1971, but has subsequently grown to 283 (1981), 363 (1991), 357 (2001) and 409 (2011). Of archaeological interest are the ruins of a broch at Northfield and the remains of St Lawrence's Church. Farming and the production of knitwear are the main economic activities and there is a bird sanctuary at Ness on the eastern tip of the island.

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