From the earliest days of Guiding, the movement sought to cater for as many girls as possible, to really fulfil the claim that 'Guiding is open to any girl who is able to make the Promise'. The first units, after all, were Patrols which had established themselves independently, then sought an adult to take charge of them when the rulebook finally insisted they must. In urban areas, the gathering of Patrols into larger units was a natural result, but in some areas where the girls were more isolated, it was not feasible.
The first problem lay with girls who lived in rural areas. In those days especially, many more people lived in the countryside, in small villages or hamlets, or in isolated farms and cottages with few links to the outside world, than is found nowadays. In an era when public transport was limited, cars an impossible luxury, and mass communication even rarer, there were many individual girls who did not live within feasible reach of a unit, and some villages which would always struggle to muster enough girls of the right age or near enough to it, to ever form the two Patrols necessary to start a unit. In many cases, their only contact with the nearest larger village or town was the school bus or train, the timing of which ruled out any participation in after-school activities outwith the home village or hamlet.
Another group were some of those girls who attended boarding schools. Where a boarding school had a Headmistress sympathetic to the movement, and Mistresses willing to take on the role of Guide Officers in their limited free time, then units could flourish at boarding schools, and many did - but in schools where there wasn't a Guide Company established, and the school did not choose to begin one, school timetables and bounds rules could make it impossible for a girl to join any nearby Guide Company while at school, at least during term time.
A further group who were catered for by Lone Guiding were Extension Guides, as they were then known. In those early days education for the disabled was often patchy or non-existent. The lucky few were able to attend special boarding schools for certain disabilities, otherwise children who were unable to physically attend the local school were stuck at home, often with limited contact with other children and no educational provision or training in skills, in some cases rarely leaving the room in which they lived. Letters of activities from the Lone Guider could both give them a connection with the outside world, and a chance to do some of the activities other Guiding members around the country were doing too - a rare chance to be 'the same'.
Technology has brought advances for Lone Guiding, with email and the internet making it much easier for the Guiders to keep in touch with members in remote locations, and scope for more regular communications, for challenges to be sent and replies received more quickly, including the creation of an internet Guide unit. Alongside those who can't attend meetings because of geography, are a new band of Lones - those who cannot attend units because of their other commitments. With so many out-of-school clubs on offer to girls nowadays, plus the pressure of schoolwork, sometimes it's hard to find a unit meeting within range on a night which doesn't clash with the other hobbies - so even in urban areas where standard units are available quite nearby, girls are finding that 'Lones' offers them accessible Guiding, which can be fitted into their schedule - so Lone Guiding is currently undergoing a massive expansion, with more units needed to meet demand than for a long time . . .