A WARNING against “blindly” following sat navs has been made by a Manchester man who got his Mini stuck in a ditch on a Lake District fell.

Mudassar Zafar, 35, got into difficulty beneath Sallows, near Windermere, and had to abandon his car in the middle of the night to find mobile reception.

“I was scared because it felt like something out of Jurassic Park,” he said.

Mr Zafar, a trainee solicitor, had been on his way to a weekend’s camping with family and friends at Kentmere Residential Centre, just south of Kentmere Reservoir.

Despite having to leave late in the day, he was looking forward to joining the group on Friday night.

However, he inadvertently took a wrong turning near Staveley and ended up in fields near High Borrans Farm.

“I missed a turn so instead of taking a left I think I took a right,” said Mr Zafar. He subsequently found himself on a footpath beneath Sallows, one of the Wainwright fells.

As it would have been difficult to turn around, particularly in the dark, and because his sat-nav was telling him he was getting closer to his destination, he carried on going before getting stuck in a ditch along a bridleway at grid reference NY442022.

He called the emergency services but, because he was safe and did not know exactly where he was, they were unable to help. As he was so far off the road - by his estimate about three miles - Green Flag could not assist him either.

By the time he got stuck it was around midnight. He left his car to try to find mobile reception and was eventually able to send his location to his family via mobile phone.

“It was a proper search, like a rescue mission,” he said.

The search party found him one-and-a-half hours’ walk up a public footpath below the fell. The family decided to abandon the car for the night and made its way back to Kentmere Residential Centre, by which time it was 6am.

The next day was spent visiting farms in search of help removing the stranded Mini, but these efforts proved fruitless.

On Sunday, Mr Zafar called Kankku, a company best known for offering 4X4 off-road experiences in the Lake District, but which possesses specialist recovery equipment for use in its day-to-day operations.

A spokesman for Kankku said: “We recovered the vehicle with no further damage to the landscape, and fortunately there was little or no significant environmental damage caused by the Mini on the journey to the incident place; there was no damage to the vehicle either.

“Although we are well equipped to respond to such an incident, fortunately this isn’t a regular or frequent occurrence.”

Mr Zafar advised people to take “more precautions, especially when using Google Maps,” and added: “I think there’s a danger sometimes with following [the sat nav] blindly.”

It turned out to be an expensive lesson for him as it cost £720 to have his car removed.

Despite the costly error, Mr Zafar was able to see the funny side. “The laughs were on me,” he said. “I was the butt of the jokes.”

Simon Henrick, of Green Flag, offered some cautionary advice to other road users: “Sat navs are an amazing piece of technology that many of us could not do without, however, on occasions they can literally send you down the wrong path,” he said.

“Even if you‘re planning to use a sat nav it’s worth researching your journey and ensuring the technology is there to guide you and not lead you.

“Understanding the road layout and road signs are just as important when using a sat nav as when you aren’t.”

Green Flag offer a number of tips for preparing for a journey:

1. Walk around the car and look for any signs of potential trouble, especially tyres and lights.

2. Check tyre pressures, spare included.

3. Check all fluid levels and top up if necessary.

4. Make sure you have breakdown cover. If you’re travelling abroad, make sure your cover extends to your trip away. If it doesn’t, you may need to arrange separate cover.

5. Keep a road map in the car so you’ll be able to explain where you are when you call for help. Don’t rely on the map on your phone – you won’t always have signal.

6. Make sure your phone battery is topped up – think about buying an in-car charger just in case you need it.

7. Have the number for your emergency breakdown provider handy – you’ll usually find it on your policy certificate, so you could keep this in the glove box.

8. Carry a red warning triangle at all times.

9. Always keep some water and snacks in the car, in case you get stuck for a long time.