From the parking place directly south of the summit of Sorrel, on the road that comes up from Lackan, a track begins heading north that will bring you to the top. The path has been eroded/created by hillwalkers, a not very numerous bunch, but enough to wear away the ground. As I ascended I appreciated for the first time the majestic sweep of the curve created by the ridge of hills beginning at Sally Gap and Carrigvore and containing east to west Gravale, Duff Hill, Mullaghcleevaun east and west and Black Hill with Moanbane and Silsean over its back. North of here, but hidden by Sorrel itself, are Kippure, Seefingan and Seefin, Corrig and Seahan.
All over this side of Sorrel are many deep cut trenches into the peat, relics of turf-cutting, and as I ascend there are a few little stone structures that could be something, could be nothing. Further up, Tonduff appears through the Sally Gap and then Kippure. More trenches up here and one can't help but wonder at the toil involved this high up – desperate times – though once the work was done, bringing it home was an easier downhill trek.
The summit of Sorrel is a flat, rubble-strewn wasteland of granite and sand, eroded, like the cairn it contains, by wind, rain and humanity. The view to the north really opens up now, and south-west over the reservoir are Slievecorragh, Church mountain and Corriebracks.
The cairn is wrecked, with people removing the lower stones and placing them atop, creating a different shaped structure with two distinct aspects. A lot of the exposed rubble consists of larger than normal boulders, leading one to think that much of the smaller covering material is now gone, revealing this more robust core. And it's quite small, maybe 10 metres in diameter, looking bigger from a distance as it's higher than normal with all the interference.
There is the sensation that you are at the centre of a bowl up here, with just the gap to the west and the reservoir, but directly west and lower is Lugnagun, with its tomb and cairn, compensating for the gap and furthering the illusion. The ridge that skirts the N81 at Kilteel, from Blessington to Slievethoul, closes the north-west view. There is a slight parallel here with the ring around Slieve Gullion and Calliagh Berra's House.
The descent back down to the car is easy, the spring in your step aided by the new layers of sphagnum moss and the orchestra of chirping birds. There are other secrets on Sorrel Hill, but they're for another day.